Building Capacity in Military-Connected Schools

 September                                                                                              2013
BC Logo-Month of the Military Child

In This Issue:
* New Grant to Focus on Transitions for Military Children
Education Secretary Duncan Visits Chula Vista 
* Spotlight On: Nancy Kerwin
* Featured Resource: Impact Aid for Children with Severe Disabiliies
* Headlines and Resources  
Limited Time Offer
For a short time, Teachers College Press is offering free copies of Building Capacity's guidebooks for educators and military parents. Click here to request a copy. These books are essential resources for those who work with military-connected students.

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Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Navy Yard shootings and their families.

Welcoming Transitions for Military Students Experiencing Multiple Moves: With a New Partnership Consortium Grant, There Will Be an App for That


     Apps on our phones and tablets are meant to make life easier and point us to the services and providers who can meet our needs. There's no reason why such innovation can't also simplify and improve the stressful process that military children and their parents face every time they enroll in a new school.

     That's the idea behind a new four-year, $5 million Welcoming new studentconsortium grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), in partnership with the USC School of Social Work and four other military-connected school districts in San Diego and Riverside counties--Bonsall Union School District, Fallbrook Union High School District, Oceanside Unified School District and Temecula Valley Unified School District. USC and CVESD will jointly administer the grant for the five school districts in the consortium.

     Just as Yelp directs us to nearby restaurants and PowerSchool gives parents real-time updates on their children's grades and homework assignments, new apps developed as part of the grant will streamline the way families complete enrollment forms, find tutoring programs, sign up for extra-curricular or after-school programs, learn about community-based resources and stay in touch with key district contacts who can answer additional questions. These tools will help educators connect new families to the school community. Click here to read the full story. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Visits Chula Vista School 


     Education Secretary Arne Duncan's "Strong Start, Bright Future" Back-to-School Bus Tour pulled into Chula Vista last week for a stop at Castle Park Middle School.

     Policymakers, the local media, and heads of community agencies attended the event. Because the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) is part of the Building Capacity Consortium, several other Building Capacity partners also turned out for the null Secretary's visit, including Bonsall Union School District Superintendent Dr. Justin Cunningham, Dr. Colette Ingraham, who chairs San Diego State University's school psychology program, and Dr. Michael Rank, the director of the USC San Diego Academic Center. University interns placed in Consortium schools also attend the event.

     Duncan greeted students, staff and other attendees and held a "town hall" meeting to discuss topics including college access, early learning, family engagement and juvenile justice. See this report from

the NBC affiliate in San Diego.

     The bus tour was meant, in part, to highlight examples of schools providing an excellent education for English learners and for students from military families. In recent years, CVESD schools have seen dramatic gains in academic performance. The district is also experiencing reductions in school bullying and other risk factors. The community, university partnerships, strong school administrators and district leadership are credited for these changes. null

     Castle Park is also part of the U.S. Department of

Education's Promise Neighborhood initiative, which brings together schools, local government, businesses and other organizations to develop high expectations for students and support them in their pathways toward success in college and careers.

     The Building Capacity Consortium would like to salute CVESD Superintendent Francisco Escobedo and the entire district for the strong community partnerships they have created to benefit children who attend their schools.

Spotlight On: Nancy Kerwin

     After 33 years in public education, Nancy Kerwin knows well how circumstances outside of school can affect a child's education.
    Nancy Kerwin  As the executive director of Student, Family and Community Services for the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), Kerwin works to make sure schools are stable and welcoming places for the city's military children and parents.
     Kerwin has worked closely with the Building Capacity team and will continue to play an important role in the new consortium involving CVESD, USC and four other districts. (See story above.)
     In addition to teaching special education and elementary grades, Kerwin has also served as a pupil services specialist, a principal, the coordinator of early intervention services and the director of early intervention services.
     She received her bachelor's degree from Simmons College in Boston, a master's in special education from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a master's in educational leadership from Seattle University.
     Kerwin also serves on the boards of the Chula Vista Police Activity League, South Bay Community Services and the South Bay Family YMCA. She is a member of Chula Vista Kiwanis.
Featured Resource: Impact Aid for Children with Severe Disabilities 
     The federal Impact Aid program reimburses local education agencies for the funds they spend to serve military children with severe disabilities.
     These reimbursements are available to districts DODEA with at least two children with these severe special needs.
     Read more about the program on this section of
the Department of Defense Education Activity's Military K-12 Partners website.
     The page also provides links to other aspects of the Impact Aid program, such as the Supplemental Program and Impact Aid for "large-scale rebasing."
Headlines and Resources

We regularly feature stories, reports and resources related to military children on our website. Check back often for new additions, such as these:
  • The Huffington Post covered a new study by Child Trends on how young children are affected by a military parent's deployment.
  • Dr. Ron Astor's and Dr. Dorothy Espelage's comments on the findings of the bullying prevention task force they co-chaired are featured in two videos available on the American Educational Research Association's website.
  • Click here for the September/October issue of the Academic Anchor, the newsletter of the Navy Region Southwest's school liaison officers. Click on the Academic Anchor tab.