By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Justin L. Webb, Naval Base San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO, Calif.– Commander Navy Region Southwest (NRSW) is looking to expand upon its military family Transition Center initiative both within the region and nationally.
This initiative began through grants from Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) as a way to encourage collaboration between NRSW schools, local military and the community to facilitate transition and orientation experiences that addresses the specific needs of military dependant students.
The centers, rooms or corners were established because both CNIC and the School Liaison Officer Program recognized the need for these support systems in our public schools that serve military children. CNIC chose San Diego to pilot the Transition Center concept to ensure the program would work in a larger, metropolitan community. Currently, there are 11 total Transition Rooms divided between the San Diego Unified School District and Coronado Unified School District.
“We have come to realize that these rooms require little-to-no funding,” said NRSW Regional School Liaison Officer Shannon Milder. “A program like this can be successful at any school, even without a major military population. Our society is a transient one, and so all families need a place to feel welcome in their new surroundings.”
All San Diego Unified School District sites are located in military housing complexes or in close proximity to Naval Base San Diego. The centers not only provide support during deployments while promoting academic achievement but also help with successful social and emotional adjustment at school.
“This program has allowed School Liaison Officers to increase their contact with new families by nearly twenty percent since implementation,” added Milder.
The Transition Rooms have even allowed the schools and the school liaison team to link new families up with families who have been in the area for some time, thus creating an instant community for the incoming family and student. These families are receiving the educational, social and community resources, which are necessary to thrive in their new homes and schools.
Jess Jaymalin, who was the Parent Teacher Organization President at Dewey Elementary from June 2010 until June 2011, says that that the transition centers or “connection corners” are an awesome resource because it’s more than a place to welcome families; it has become a place to unite military families into the larger school environment.
“Each school with military families should have a program like the transition room in place,” she said. “There are so many reasons that this program has helped the Dewey community with besides having an easier transition. The resources are right there, and the school teachers are now educated on how hard it is for military children to come to a new place every four years.”
Parents or Servicemembers, who are looking to learn more about this program and how they can support, can visit the San Diego Metro Navy Liaison Program Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/sandiegoschoolliaison.