04/12/05 — Schools, Air Force sign deal on helping new students

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Schools, Air Force sign deal on helping new students

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 12, 2005 1:47 PM

Wayne County officials and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base have agreed on a plan to ease the transition of students from military families as they enter the school system here.

Officials with the Wayne County Public Schools and the base signed a memorandum of agreement Monday night that incorporates procedures developed by both the military and the school system.

Dr. Steve Taylor, superintendent of schools, and Col. Michael Holmes, the 4th Fighter Wing commander, signed the memorandum during a ceremony at the school system offices on Royall Avenue.

The document refers to ways to improve the transfer of student records, ease students' first weeks after enrollment and reduce the adverse impact of switching schools, especially among older students.

Copies of the document will be distributed to each school.

The strategies also will help mobile students who are not from military families, said Olivia Pierce, the executive director for community relations for the school system.

"The beauty of this document is it will actually benefit any students transferring, whether they're military or not," she said.

The agreement is a product of the Military Child Education Coalition and findings of the U.S. Army's Secondary Education Transi-tion Study. The school system joined the coalition last August and now becomes the 171st school system to sign such an agreement.

Pierce said the partnership between the base and the school system represents a mergingof strategies.

Successful ideas from other military installations were sought by the local committee, she said.

"What this does is put us one step closer to formalizing our partnership," said Nancy Mayo, the liaison between the school system and the base. She said the plan demonstrates the school system's willingness to go the extra distance in its commitment for military students.

Col. Holmes expressed gratitude for the time and effort the school system has afforded to military families.

"It took an extra step beyond to show the love that you have always had for our military students in a concrete way," Holmes said, "leveling the playing field and making life better for them."

Mrs. Mayo said a joint education committee will meet regularly to see that the guidelines in the memorandum are being followed. She said that a representative from the Wayne school system will attend the coalition's national conference in June. There are plans to have an active counseling center for mobile students at Eastern Wayne High School, she added.