MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- From deployments to permanent changes of stations, military children face a plethora of unique challenges. As a way to recognize and honor our country’s youngest heroes for their daily sacrifices and resiliency, the Department of Defense deemed April as the Month of the Military Child.
As part of this commemoration, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, was invited to attend the Hillsborough County Public School Board meeting April 3, 2018, to highlight combined efforts focused on the future of MacDill’s youth.
Representing MacDill were Col. Troy Pananon, vice commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, and Terry Montrose, chief of community engagement at MacDill, who highlighted the shared commitment to create a supportive environment in which children can thrive.
One way this partnership focuses on the military child is through the MacDill Council for Education Excellence, which was established in January 2015, in an effort to ease transitions and help military families navigate challenges they may face throughout the district.
“We wanted to make sure we let everyone know the impact this has across military families,” said Pananon. “We have about 4,500 students spread out across 182 schools.”
Being the only Air Force program of its kind, the MCEE quickly realized reoccurring challenges faced by our military families and their children.
“The bottom line is that we have resolved 42 issues in the three years since the formation of MCEE, making it a benchmark program for the Air Force,” said Pananon, addressing the board. “You are our force multiplier.”
Another way MacDill focuses on youth education is through the annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Day, which partners with schools to display the tie between everyday classes and military innovation.
“During our STEAM Day, we had 1,300 students from 29 different schools come into one of our hangars,” Montrose said. “Enhanced partnering with educators will result in addressing the educational concerns of service members and their families.”
Next on the board’s agenda was a parent to parent group, which works to empower families on how to best help their children, followed by a presentation from a military child who spoke on the student to student program and its focus of bringing students together.
As a result of MacDill’s continuous focus on innovation and future success, the school board motioned to officially proclaim April as Month of the Military Child across the Hillsborough County School District.