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NEWS | Sept. 26, 2011

Boot camp for educators

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

More than 50 educators from Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester II County school districts gathered together for a one-day workshop to learn about the unique life of military members during the Educator Boot Camp course held at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station, Sept. 23.

Participants were given an inside look at what military families experience during military deployments, relocation, parenting and communication as well as learning how they as educators can support students who have deployed family members.

"This workshop allows educators who may not have had a personal experience of having a deployed family member gain some perspective on what it feels like to be in one of these positions and to remind them of who we are supporting," said Cicely McCray, Educator Boot Camp coordinator.

The workshop took a thorough look at children and violence, cycles of deployments and provided tips on fostering resiliency within children coping with the stress of a deployed family member. The workshop also provided additional resource materials, educational web sites and covered topics such as the Exceptional Military Family Program.

"Many educators have spent their lives in an academic environment and usually have little experience dealing with military families. We want to educate the educators on what they can do to for a military child in their school district," said McCray.

According to Meg Barrineau, Timberland High School guidance counselor and one of the participants at the workshop, the resources offered will not only help teachers assist military children in adapting to a new school environment, but non-military children as well.

"When a child relocates to a new school, it is a big change and a lot of times their previous school may be teaching something differently than we are," Barrineau said. "Some of the resources we are learning about will allow teachers to help a child catch up with academics which will help a child have an easier time adjusting to their new school environment."

Participants were also given a tour of the Weapons Station, allowing them to see JBC-WS daily operations.

"Most if not all of the educators on this trip have never had the opportunity to see the base," McCray continued. "This tour allows them to get a better, real-life view of the military lifestyle as well as seeing what the base is all about and what resources may be available to them."

"Our ultimate goal of this workshop is that each participant walks away from this trip with a much broader understanding of the military community," McCray continued. "We want to provide them with as many resources as possible to be able to better serve our military children and families."