MCEC brought its new 360 Summits to three states in a whirlwind two weeks, with elements tailored to each host community. These two-day events offer professional development, Student 2 Student program enhancement, and workshops for parents and their children, free of charge to attend.
On April 19-20, MCEC traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to host a special Month of the Military Child four-part Summit. The event was a collaborative effort from the South Carolina statewide coalition of the willing, with special partnerships with Richland School District Two, Army and Air Force School Liaisons, South Carolina Purple Star partners, and the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs.
The first day featured Student 2 Student® (S2S) training designed to set up a strong foundation for new student-led welcoming teams. In this MCEC program, a blend of military and civilian students come together to welcome new students, create a positive environment, support academic excellence, and ease transitions.
The training had a meaningful impact. One student commented, “I learned that leadership is developed from within yourself. To succeed you, must seek out successful people, and sustain discipline and motivation to keep the success train rolling.”
On the first evening, MCEC’s Tell Me A Story® (TMAS) was presented to 38 parents and young children. The bilingual event featured readings of the book Night Catch, followed by group discussions and activities.
For education professionals, day two of the Summit highlighted the Purple Star School initiative, including the Military Interstate Compact (MIC3) presenting Compact 101, and MCEC educators presenting Supporting Children through Transitions and Supporting Children of National Guard and Reserve Families.
The event was capped with a carnival-style event for all ages and open to the community, celebrating Month of the Military Child.
Two additional 360 Summits were held in early May. On May 2-3, the Purple Star readiness-focused Summit reached Enterprise, Alabama. Fort Novosel Commanding General Michael McCurry kicked off the Summit with greetings for the professional educators in attendance. His remarks noted the issues many military-dependent children face with frequent transition to new schools.
“They want the same things all other kids want, and the same things all other kids need. For instance, my two oldest children are twins and they went to four high schools in four years,” he said.
On the evening of May 2, MCEC’s TMAS visited the Enterprise Public Library, with a reading of Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot. At every TMAS event, each family receives a copy of the book to keep for their own. The student group event was held on day two of the Summit, delivering Student 2 Student program support to Fort Novosel area school districts.
A few states over on May 4-5, the first 360 Summit held in Texas landed in Abilene. Education professionals had a full day consisting of an overview of Purple Star Schools, Social Emotional Learning and the Military Child, and Responding to Military Children with Exceptional Needs, plus a briefing in Impact Aid.
One educator commented, “It’s important to think of the big picture and understand that on top of the anxiety of being in a new place, a new student is also grieving the loss of the friends and familiarity left behind.”
In the evening, the MCEC Chart Your Course workshop was held for parents and their high school-aged kids. This presentation explores academic pathways to help parents set students up for success as they navigate their course options.
On the second day, 27 students and sponsors arrived from three different high schools serving Dyess Air Force Base and surrounding communities. The day was filled with energy, activities and guidance on how to set their Student 2 Student programs up for success in the coming school year.
These three 360 Summits were made possible by funding from The State of South Carolina, The Alabama State Department of Education State Fund, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA), respectively.
All MCEC 360 Summits include components for education professionals, students, and parents. Professional development and Student 2 Student are eligible for continuing education credits. Interested in bringing the MCEC 360 Summit to your area? Send a message to: MSC@MilitaryChild.org