Welcoming Practices 
In Military-Connected Schools
Spring 2016                                                                           

In This Issue:
* White House Conference on Educating the Educators Scheduled in April
* April is Month of the Military Child
* Workshop Scheduled on Supporting Students During Times of Crisis and Loss
* Fallbrook's Student-2-Student/Helping Hands Club Stays Busy Welcoming New Students
* FOCUS Evaluation Shows Promising Results for Military Families 
Guidebook Preview: Welcoming Videos 
* Headlines and Resources  
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Free Guidebooks

     Free copies of our military resource guides for educators and parents are available. Please click here to request a copy. 


Welcoming Practices Year 
2 Reports 
Now Available 

     The Welcoming Practices Annual Report and the Welcoming Practices Technical Evaluation Report are now available. Both reports provide detailed information on Year 2 of the Consortium. 

Welcoming Practices is a Partnership Consortium involving five Southern California school districts and the University of Southern California, funded by the Department of Defense Education Activity's partnership program. 
Grant #HE-1254-13-1-0017

For more information, please visit our website.

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White House Conference on Educating the Educators Scheduled in April  

     The Building Capacity/Welcoming Practices team at USC, along with the Military Child Education Coalition and Joining Forces ,have organized a half-day White House conference focused on increasing attention to military- and veteran-connected children among university researchers and schools of education.
     The April 13 Operation Educate the Educators event is part of Michele Obama's and Dr. Jill Biden's efforts to support military children and families. 
     The Building Capacity and Welcoming Practices consortium will be featured at the conference and the four Building Capacity guidebooks will be distributed for universities to consider as materials for their courses. Over 100 universities that have signed on to Operation Educate the Educators have been invited to attend.
     In addition, on April 11, Dr. Biden will give a special plenary talk at this year's annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, also being held in Washington. AERA has over 25,000 members, mostly researchers and professors in schools of education, and between 15,000 and 19,000 are expected to attended this year's conference.
     Dr. Ron Astor will participate in moderating the Q&A session after Dr. Biden's talk. AERA will also add a link to its website where education researchers and faculty members can join Operation Educate the Educators and find resources on how to integrate military- and veteran-connected children into their research and teaching. 

April is Month of the Military Child 

Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative to Hold Special Event

     Military families with children in Pre-K through age 12 are invited to attend a special Month of the Military Child event on Sunday, April 17 at the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library in downtown Los Angeles. 
     The event, to be held in the Mark Taper Auditorium, will include storytelling, music, crafts and other activities. Children of active duty, Reserve, National Guard and veterans are invited. Registration is open until April 10. 
     The Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative is organizing the event in partnership with the USC School of Social Work, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Holman United Methodist Church, Operation Family Caregiver and the Mindful Warrior Project. 
     The event will run from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The library is located at 630 West 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90071.
     Tax-deductible donations are also being accepted to support the event. For information, contact Gail Soffer at gail@mindfulwarriorproject.org or 
(818) 616-2931.

Workshop Scheduled on Supporting Students During Times of Crisis and Loss

     The Welcoming Practices Consortium and the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, in the USC School of Social Work, will present "Supporting Students at Times of Crisis and Loss" on Wednesday, April 27.
     The workshop for school professionals will feature Dr. David Shonfeld, a developmental behavioral pediatrician. As president of the National Center for Crisis and Bereavement, he has consulted with schools following a number of school crisis events and disasters within the U.S. and abroad.
     The event will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 pm. at the San Diego Academic Center, 16870 West Bernardo Drive, San Diego, CA 92127
     Please register by April 13 by calling Sophia Tran at (858) 675-0167, ext 234 or by email at welpractice@gmail.com.      

Fallbrook's Student-2-Student/Helping Hands Club Stays Busy Welcoming New Students 

     Back-to-school pool parties, campus tours and an Amazing Race-style event are just a few of the activities that Fallbrook High School's Helping Hands club are using to make new students feel welcome.             Helping Hands is Fallbrook High's version of the Military Child Education Coalition's Student-2-Student program, which has been implemented throughout the Welcoming Practices consortium districts. The club was organized last year by Nicole Webb, the parent center liaison at the school.
     In addition to focusing on new students, the members are also reaching outside the school by creating care packages for military members overseas and participating in a Thanksgiving food drive for local families in need. 
     "As an extremely active organization, Helping Hands members think of ourselves as a team, all with
Bergen Banta
the same goal of making the lives of our new peers joyous and as painless as possible," Bergen Banta, the club's president, wrote in a recent article about the group. 
    Located near Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the school receives new students throughout the school year. In addition to receiving a tour, new students are also invited to attend weekly club meetings and participate in other fun activities or volunteer projects.
     "As many of our club members have parents that are a part of the service," Bergen wrote, "Helping Hands wanted to find a way to not only put their minds at ease that their children are receiving a superb education in a positive environment but also give back to them and thank them for the sacrifices they make for our country."

FOCUS Evaluation Shows Promising Results for Military Families

     A family-resilience program for military families is leading to positive outcomes for both children and their parents, according to a new evaluation from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. 
     FOCUS, which stands for Families OverComing Under Stress, seeks to prevent psychological health risks in military families coping with deployment, reintegration and other stress factors related to military service.
     The researchers, led by Dr. Patricia Lester of the Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), analyzed data on the implementation of the program at 15 military installations in the U.S. and Japan between July 2008 and December 2013. They found improvement in psychological health in both service members and civilian spouses. Among children, there was improvement over time in emotional and behavioral symptoms. 
     "Evaluation of a Family-Centered Preventive Intervention for Military Families: Parent and Child Longitudinal Outcomes" appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology.
     In a related editorial, the researchers stress the importance of providing FOCUS to underserved families, such as those in the National Guard and Reserves.
     "Training community child and family mental health clinicians to routinely ask about a family history of military involvement, and training them in the mental health concerns of military parents and children, represent a means of ensuring access to timely, high-quality care for children," they write. "Another cost-effective approach involves educating professionals already trained and skilled in the development and mental health needs of children, such as pediatricians, teachers, school nurses, and coaches about the unique challenges of military family life."  
     A modified, group version of FOCUS was implemented in schools that were part of Building Capacity and are now part of the Welcoming Practices Consortium. Pupil personnel in the Los Angeles Unified School District have also received training in FOCUS with the idea that it can benefit students facing a variety of family challenges, not just military-connected children. 
     Other researchers involved in the study were 
Drs. Li-Jung Liang, Norweeta Milburn, Catherine Mogil, Lee Klosinski and William Saltzman from UCLA and Hilary Aralis, Maegan Sinclair and Alan Semaan, also from UCLA. Additional authors are
Kirsten Woodward of the U.S. Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery, Dr. William Nash of the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters and Dr. William Beardslee of the Children's Hospital Boston at Harvard Medical School. 

Guidebook Preview: Welcoming Videos

     In our upcoming guidebook on implementing welcoming practices in schools, welcoming videos are described as a way to give incoming families--and others that might be deciding where to live--a glimpse into the district or school in which they are enrolling. 
     Here's a welcoming video from the Chula Vista Elementary School District that other districts can use as an example. Schools can also create their own videos and get students involved in the production.

Headlines and Resources

We regularly feature stories, reports and resources related to military children and transition on our website. Check back often for new additions, such as these:
  • The Military Child Education Coalition's 2016 National Training Seminar will be held in Washington D.C. June 27-29. This link provides more information.
  • Click here for the latest issue of Academic Anchor, a publication of the Navy Region Southwest's school liaison officers.
  •  This story by Clarksville Now in Tennessee described a program that provides free counseling to children of military members and veterans.

Building Capacity in Military-Connected Schools, University of Southern California, Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services | 1149 S. Hill St. | Suite 360 | Los Angeles | CA | 90015