Editor's note: This story was provided by the Camp Pendleton Public Affairs Office.
By Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff
Camp Pendleton officials are urging parents with children in local schools to complete the Impact Survey sent home with their children.
“We ask parents to participate in the impact survey, usually sent home in the October-November time frame,” said Kelli May, regional school liaison for Marine Corps Installations West. “We want them to look for that card and know that it’s directly related to the amount of funding that the school districts receive for their children.”
An additional benefit of completing these forms is that the school districts will know if they have enough military students to apply for specific grants. The school liaisons link the military community and civilian school districts.
The Camp Pendleton school liaison coordinates education support services to maximize opportunities for academic success for transitioning military children/youth, according to the Camp Pendleton website.
The school liaison supports and endorses quality education for military children by working with the command, families, school districts, and local communities, and by providing referral services to family support organizations on Camp Pendleton and in the local community.
“We make sure that each school in the district has a point of contact,” said May. “The point of contact, the liaison, is the individual who works collaboratively with school leaders to handle issues that deal with their military students.”
Such issues include the identification of possible funding sources for schools on or near military bases, which educate a large number of military students.
These schools still must provide a quality education to the and meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, while sometimes operating with less local revenue than is available to other school districts, because the Federal property is exempt from local property taxes, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
“Surveys go out to the students in the beginning of the school year indicating if they’re federally connected or not, and the more participation in the survey, the more money school districts get,” May said.
Enhancing the environment for the military students is also part of what the school liaisons do. They do this, in part, by bringing Marines into schools for volunteer opportunities.
One particular initiative, Marine P.E. Fitness Challenge, is facilitated by the school siaisons and run by Marines who spend the day at a school motivating students through a series of physical fitness activities and sitting down to eat lunch with them.
“It’s a way for Marines to exercise their leadership skills, the military children to feel a sense of family, and students who are not military to be opened up to a positive perspective of the Marine Corps and the value of physical fitness,” May said.