NDW School Liaison Officers Help Parents Navigate Changing Educational Landscape

Story Number: NNS200617-11Release Date: 6/17/2020 2:20:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Amadi, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Naval District Washington’s (NDW) school liaison officers (SLO) have worked to get parents the latest information on their children’s education.

The role of the SLO is to remove education obstacles and provide all possible educational resources to active duty service members and their children. With schools closing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, NDW’s SLOs are working to help parents through this process.

“This is uncharted water,” said Horrace Franklin, NDW regional school liaison officer. “You have teachers who have had to switch one day to the next from face-to-face instruction to virtual instruction. Each state sets its own learning criteria and we are making sure our parents are aware of those criteria.”

Franklin has worked in education for more than 20 years, serving as a SLO at commands throughout the National Capital Region and as a school principal before that. He says SLOs are monitoring the local education agencies (LEAs) to provide the most up-to-date information to parents.

“We’re covering all the board meetings to make sure we can push the latest information out regarding things like graduation and summer school. The next hot thing that’s going on in education is trying to figure out if school systems will be face-to-face, virtual or a combination of both. Maryland and Virginia, for example, have both left it to the LEAs to set how they’re going to open up for the 2021 school year. In DC, the mayor will make the call based on the chancellor with input from the community board and various stakeholders,” said Franklin.

COVID-19 is having an impact on summer program opportunities available to children. Both summer schools and camps are available this year, but in a virtual environment.

“As of today, I’m not aware of anyone who is offering face-to-face summer school. Everything is going to remain virtual, including extended school year services, special education and credit recovery for high school seniors. I was excited to hear that a lot of school systems are waving the fee for summer school to ensure that students can remain on track.”

“For the most part, in the DMV, summer camps are tied to your county. Prince George’s, Arlington, Montgomery and DC have cancelled their traditional summer programs. However, if you go to your county’s parks and recreation website, they do have virtual programs, which are a wonderful opportunities. They have a variety of camps that are out there, like online dancing and cooking classes that you can take. It’s the same type of camp, just in a virtual environment,” said Franklin.

Franklin stresses the importance of keeping children stimulated this summer and offers the services of counselors for kids have trouble dealing with the pandemic.

“Read something to your child every day. Play board or card games. Do anything you can to keep them using critical thinking skills. Kids are constantly developing and it’s important to keep their minds working. I’m also telling parents if children are having a difficult time dealing with this pandemic, we do have licensed counselors who are available for virtual telehealth. You can contact your local child development center or youth center if you’re kids are having difficulties with the current pandemic environment,” said Franklin.


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