Building Capacity in Military-Connected Schools

In This Issue:


* Duty Patrol Team Welcomes Students to Stuart Mesa
* Military Question Added to CHKS
 * Featured Resource:
* Spotlight On: Dr. Francisco Escobedo
* Building Capacity Featured at Lunch Session
* What the Interstate Compact Says About: Being College Ready
* Headlines


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Upcoming Events: 

SDCOE Workshop: The San Diego County Office of Education will hold a workshop for those who want to learn more about how to support military children. The meeting will be held April 18, from 9-11 a.m. at the North County Regional Education Center, 255 Pico Ave. San Marcos, Calif. 92069. The event will be held in "Com Labs" 2-4.

     For registration information, please contact Janet Ortega at (858) 292-3517 or by email at


'Transitions' Workshop: The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego is holding a workshop May 16 on making the transition from EFMP to civilian support services. The workshop--open to active duty service members and Department of Defense service providers, will focus on topics such as special education law, school transition, TRICARE and other health coverage and V.A. benefits for families.

     For more information or to RSVP, please contact the EFMP office at:

(610) 524-8031/8086/6078 or


Grant Opportunity:

     Applications are now being accepted for Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program grants. The three-year grant awards range from $250,000 to $400,000. The deadline is May 25.

     Supporting military families is one of the competitive preference priorities.

     Click this link for full application information.

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'Duty Patrol' Team Members Welcome Newcomers to Stuart Mesa Elementary
     When new students enroll in Stuart Mesa Elementary School in Oceanside, they are welcomed by members of the school's Duty Patrol Mediation Team--a group of 4th and 5th graders who help to oversee younger students at recess and lunch and resolve conflicts when they arise.
     USC MSW intern Victoria Torres gave the team members this additional responsibility when she noticed that the school's front office was in need of someone who could give new students more one-on-one attention as they adjusted to their new school.
Peace Patrol Image
From left: Victoria Torres, Bryanna Dominguez, Justin Lewis, Elizabeth McQuillan, Leah Lee
     Located on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Stuart Mesa serves an all-military population, meaning new students enter frequently--about 20 times a month.
     Torres wanted new students to have "a buddy in their classroom and a familiar face so they may not be so nervous at lunch or at recess."
     The program also reassures parents that their children will have some support as they adjust to the new school. So far, the tours have included the computer lab, the principal's office, and where students should go before and after school.
     The team members "are proud to be a part of this transitional program at their school," Torres says. "It is also a way where they can show pride in their school and show a warm welcome for the new family."
Military Student Question Added to California Healthy Kids Survey


     In a move that will give schools better information to meet the needs of military children, the California Department of Education and WestEd have added a question to the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) that asks students whether they have a father, mother or caretaker currently in the military.
     "By adding this question to the survey, schools throughout California, as well as the state as a whole, will be able to have better data on the proportion of their students who are military dependents and how their needs may differ from other students," said Gregory Austin, the director of WestEd's Health and Human Development Program.
     The CHKS is part of a survey system that also includes the California School Climate Survey for staff and the California School Parent Survey.
     As the schools in the Building Capacity consortium did in 2011, districts with high levels of military students can also collect more detailed information by adding the supplementary Military Connected Schools Module to their CHKS student survey. Supplementary military modules are also available for the companion staff and parent surveys. The student, staff and parent military modules were created as part of the Building Capacity project.
Featured Resource: 
 is a child-friendly website with materials and activities to support military children when a loved one is deployed.
     The site provides tips on how to stay in touch with someone who is deployed, journaling ideas, games focused on being a military child and geography activities. Many of the activities could also be implemented in the classroom.
     The website is sponsored by Elva Resa Publishing LLC.
Spotlight On: Dr. Francisco Escobedo
     Dr. Francisco Escobedo, the superintendent of theFrancisco Escobedo Chula Vista Elementary School District, is one of San Diego County's most respected educational leaders.
     He has also served as the assistant superintendent for educational leadership in the South Bay Union School District and as a principal in both Chula Vista and the National School District. In fact, as principal of Mae L. Feaster-Edison Charter School (now Mae L. Feaster Charter), he was recognized by the California Department of Education for leading the most improved school in San Diego County.
     Dr. Escobedo has also devoted much of his 22-year career in education to helping other educators improve their practice. He served as a mentor principal for the San Diego County Office of Education, has implemented staff development programs and has trained principals in delivering the Edison Schools model. Since 2001, he has also worked as an adjunct professor of educational administration at San Diego State University (SDSU) and is currently a member of the doctoral faculty.
     Dr. Escobedo received his undergraduate degree from Yale University, his master's from SDSU and his doctorate from the University of California, San Diego.
     As part of the Building Capacity consortium, Chula Vista schools have held a variety of events to honor members of the military and their families, and have provided intervention programs to help military families with transition periods, such as deployments or re-entry.
     "The grant," Dr. Escobedo says, "has provided the necessary emotional and social assistance for our military-related students through our amazing social service interns." 


Building Capacity Featured at USC Brown Bag Lunch Presentation
Brown Bag lunch presentation
From left: Dr. Hazel Atuel, Dr. Michal Sela-Amit, Carolina Miranda, and Dr. Tyan Parker Dominguez 
     The Building Capacity project was featured this month during a brown bag lunch session with audiences at the main USC campus and at the Orange County
Academic Center.
     Dr. Eugenia Weiss, a clinical associate professor in the
School of Social Work, presented background information on the challenges facing military students. Dr. Hazel Atuel, research assistant professor and Building Capacity program manager, provided an overview of the components of the project, and USC MSW student Carolina Miranda talked about the work she has been doing during her internship to support military students.

What the Interstate Compact Says About: Being College Ready


     With high school students preparing for graduation, we're revisiting the Interstate
Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children this month to highlight what the document says about transition into college. We're also offering helpful planning strategies for college counselors and high school-aged students.
     Regarding High School Exit ExamsAccording to the Compact (Article VII, Section B), when military students transfer, states shall accept exit or end-of-course exam results required for graduation from the sending state, or national norm-referenced achievement tests. Receiving states can also accept alternative testing in lieu of testing requirements for graduation in the receiving state.
     If appropriate accommodations, however, are not possible for students transferring during their senior year, both the sending and receiving districts shall ensure that the student receives a high school diploma from his or her sending school as long as the student met the graduation requirements of that district.
     Ensuring that military students receive their diploma on time is critical, especially for those who have applied and been accepted to college. Most institutions require students to submit final transcripts prior to enrolling in the fall. Delays in the conferral process may jeopardize their admissions status.
     For Sophomores and JuniorsSpring is the perfect time for sophomores and juniors to begin their college search process. For some military-connected students, this search will include local institutions, while others may choose to return to their "home" state. 
     Knowing where military-connected students are planning to attend college is critical to the planning process. Admissions requirements often vary by state, as do application deadlines and supplemental forms.
     Military-connected students may need additional support navigating multiple higher education systems as well as determining their eligibility for in-state tuition. Planning in advance may help alleviate the family's anxiety as well as reduce the risk of a student being declared ineligible for admission or in-state residency because they missed a deadline or failed to provide appropriate documentation.
     Click here for more information on the Compact.
     We have featured the following stories on our website in recent weeks. Check back often for new stories, reports and resources related to military children.
     This article from the Army Times features students who have been named Military Child of the Year for each branch.
     This Op-Ed, written by Building Capacity principal investigator Dr. Ron Astor, appeared in the Huffington Post.