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This Week In Military Community & Family Policy 21 27 Feb 2010


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This Week In Military Community & Family Policy 21 27 Feb 2010

  1. 1. PLEASE PASS TO ALL PERSONNEL President Obama, Department of Education Announce Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge WASHINGTON - The White House and the Department of Education announced today the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge, inviting public schools across the country to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation this spring. "Public schools that encourage systemic reform and embrace effective approaches to teaching and learning help prepare America's students to graduate ready for college and a career, and enable them to out-compete any worker, anywhere in the world," said President Obama in a video <> released today. "This is your opportunity to show me why your school exemplifies the best that our education system has to offer." "The Race to the Top Commencement Challenge is an amazing opportunity for our nation's high schools to share their accomplishments and aspirations," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "I look forward to hearing about the many dedicated principals, teachers and parents who work tremendously hard to ensure and promote academic excellence, and I look forward to hearing about the many students across this country who are putting their education first and taking responsibility for their future." At the beginning of the school year, the President encouraged students across the country to take responsibility for their education, study hard and graduate from high school. The Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge encourages schools to show how they are making great strides on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness. Background Information on the Commencement Challenge: Applications should be completed by students and must be submitted by a high school's principal to no later than Monday, March 15th at 11:59 pm EST. Each school may submit only one application and high schools must be public to apply. Following the application deadline, six finalists will be selected by the White House and Department of Education. These schools will then be featured on the White House website and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President's goal. The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement address to the class of 2010. The application's four essay questions focus on demonstrating how the school is helping prepare students to meet the President's 2020 goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Applications will be judged based on the school's performance and dedication to providing
  2. 2. students an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Each question must be answered in full to qualify and data that substantiates each answer is strongly encouraged. In addition to the required essay responses, applicants are invited to submit the following optional supplemental materials: * A video - no more than 2 minutes in length - showing the school's culture and character and highlighting how it is a model of educational success for other high schools around the country. * Supplemental data on key indicators such as attendance, student achievement, graduation rates and where available, college enrollment rates. This data may be presented in the form of tables, graphs or spreadsheets and should be used to help the school make the most compelling arguments possible. Text of President Obama's Video In a few short months, high school students across the country will put on their caps and gowns, pick up their diplomas, and prepare to start an exciting new chapter in their lives. Graduation is an important moment for anyone. But a high school diploma is also important to our success as a nation - and it's only the beginning. That's why I've set a goal that, by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. We've started by investing billions of dollars in strengthening our nation's schools - setting higher standards, supporting teachers and principals, and boosting the number of students who graduate high school ready for college or a career. But the government can't meet this goal alone - we need your help. And that's why today I'm excited to announce the first annual "Race to the Top" High School Commencement Challenge. Just go to and fill out an application by March 15th telling us why your school is special and why it should be a model for other schools around the country working to boost attendance and increase the number of graduates prepared for college or a career. This spring, I'll visit the winning school to speak at commencement. Good luck - and thank you for doing your part to help make our students the best and brightest in the world. ----------------- March 2, 2010, is the thirteenth annual Read Across America Day, sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), when millions of readers-both young and old-will be in the company of a good book. Since 1997, Read Across America has celebrated reading and the ongoing daily efforts to build
  3. 3. a nation of readers. Read Across America falls on the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. Every year, parents, teachers, school employees, students and community members participate in the nation's largest reading celebration by engaging in a wide range of local activities that help excite and encourage children of all ages to pick up a book and read-on March 2 and throughout the year. Many DoDEA schools and military communities in many locations around the globe will be joining the celebration. --- The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Combined Task Groups are meeting this week in Tampa, Florida, to discuss their work and findings to date regarding a variety of curriculum and program topics currently under review. DoDEA's Task Group Initiative began in School Year 2008-2009 with the establishment of seven different task groups to examine Assessment, PreK-12 Literacy, PreK-12 Mathematics, Professional Development: Administrator Performance Appraisal, Professional Development: Data-Driven Decision Making for Differentiated Instruction, Professional Technical Studies, and the Virtual School programs. Three new Task Groups were launched at the beginning of School Year 2009-2010 to review 21st Century Skills, Early Childhood Education (ECE), and Middle Level Education. DUSD Tommy T. Thomas addressed the groups on Wednesday. --- The DoDEA Safe Schools Newsletter is a monthly product which reinforces and reviews concepts learned during training; shares DoDEA success stories; updates best practices and prevention programs; and provides information, resources, and contacts. More than 60 past editions of these newsletters can be found on our website. Included with these newsletters is an index which allows searches by the date of a newsletter, newsletter section, subject, or by the Safe Schools Handbook Table of Contents. You can access the newsletters at: --- States Assisting Military Members and Their Families - Update Federal law requires a Service member to designate who will be authorized to direct disposition (PADD) of their remains. The Military Services contact the PADD designated on the Record of Emergency Data (DD 93) to direct burial benefits. Unfortunately, most State statutes, used by funeral directors to determine who is authorized to direct disposition, require it be determined through state-specific documentation or by the next of kin, rather than the individual designated on the DD 93. Disconnects can lead to family turmoil during a time of bereavement and potential for litigation to resolve disagreements. The Governor of Mississippi signed legislation this week becoming the first state to officially recognize the DD 93 as the way military members
  4. 4. designate their PADD. For more information on this issue and the other nine issues impacting the quality of life of our Service members and their families which the Department is working with state governments, visit or --- New Updated Version of the Survivor's Guide Available on MilitaryHOMEFRONT. A Survivor's Guide to Benefits: Taking Care of Our Own is designed to give family members a clear idea of how the Department of Defense (DoD) will assist them through the difficulty and pain of losing a loved one, beginning with their first meeting with a casualty assistance officer. It covers the planning and details of the funeral or memorial service, and continues through the application and processing of all benefits and entitlements. The Guide is updated at least twice annually to ensure that the information is as current and reliable as possible. The February 2010 update to the Guide can be accessed through MilitaryHOMEFRONT at --- New Content for Parents Added to the Military Youth on the Move Website Military Youth on the Move (MYOM), a website that reaches out to youth with creative ways to cope with issues that arise in the face of a move, has just added an additional section entitled "Just for Parents." This new section is designed to help military parents successfully navigate the unique challenges they face by providing information and resources on topics specific to military life and on issues that come up in day-to-day parenting. --- Recently a new feature was added to the Education information available on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS,, and Plan My Move, There is now a link to the DODEA School Report Cards, This link can be found under Associated Links at the bottom of the Education article; under Education in Additional Resources; and under the heading "Looking for DoD Schools?". The School Report Cards are a valuable resource because they provide information about school performance, accountability, the overall achievement of students, and the progress schools are making towards meeting proficiency goals. More specifically, the Report Cards provide school contact information, improvement goals, academic indicators, school profiles (gender, race, Service Branch, English Language Learners and Special Education) and Terra Nova Performance Levels by Student Group. This is a fantastic resource for parents with school-aged children. --- On Site Commissary Sales. DeCA is delivering the commissary benefit at the following Guard and Reserve locations: March 3 Guard & Reserve Bethel AK
  5. 5. March 4-5 ANG/AFRC Smyrna TN --- Military to Medicine began as a recruitment initiative within Inova Health System in partnership with the Army Reserve Employer Partnership Office. Now the program is extending its services nationwide to more fully support the military family while also addressing the national healthcare workforce shortage. On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 11:00 - noon there will be a Joint press conference with Inova and Military to Medicine to demonstrate the continued growth and success of the public-private partnership initiated in partnership with the Army Reserve Employer Partnership Office and by agreement between the Department of Defense and Inova Health System. The demonstration of training capabilities launches the Military to Medicine program nationally. Military to Medicine is providing healthcare skills instruction from Inova Fairfax Hospital in the Claude Moore building; the class will be simultaneously broadcast from the National Press Club, 529 14th Street Northwest, 4th Floor, Suite 480, Washington, DC 20045 to: . National Press Club . Loudoun County Public High School . Fort Belvoir Army Base Participants will witness the clarity of instruction and ease for instructor/student interaction. Military to Medicine's Institute for Portable Careers makes healthcare training more accessible than ever before. It further demonstrates how the military family community can prepare for a career in healthcare no matter where they are stationed. For more information contact Inova POC, Daniel Nichols at --- Military Spouse Tip of the Week Do you have a child or adult special needs family member? Military OneSource has a Special Needs launching page takes you to a world of information, resources, and support for your entire family, including comprehensive materials that help you keep paperwork and records under control. Military OneSource also provides an opportunity for you to work with a Special Needs Specialty Consultant. Contact Military OneSource at1-800-342-9647 for further information or visit --- From your MC&FP Team. Have a great week!