The demands on the military members and their families are increasing and becoming more complex. Military families are often required to relocate and sacrifice their personal security and their quality of life. Over the course of a service member’s 20-year career, family members experience countless upheavals and home life disruptions whether their military member is called to serve our country here or overseas. Children are especially vulnerable. Their unique developmental perspective and limited life experience make them a prime candidate for adjustment issues and emotional distress, which often affect their learning and maturation.
In an effort to enhance the educational experiences and support lifestyle adjustments for the military child and family during transitions and deployments, the Navy offers the School Liaison Officers (SLOs) Program. One of the purposes of the program is to establish and maintain school and community partnerships, which promote the academic, social and emotional success of children affiliated with the military. The program is designed to provide schools with a primary point of contact for military-related information and resources, be the base commanding officer’s conduit for local school and educational issues, and provide information and resources about local educational agencies for military families.
In addition, the SLOs can assist parents with school concerns associated with the military lifestyle and provide additional support through training workshops, packaged information and referral services.
The local installation SLO works in conjunction with the student, parents, the school community and the local military community to address the educational issues involving military children.
The installation SLO:
• Serves as installation/region subject matter expert for Youth Education, Transition, K-12 School and deployment issues.
• Informs and advises commanders and parents about student education issues.
• Develops solutions in partnership with local schools to overcome barriers to successful education/school transitions.
• Collaborates with local schools and installation organizations to facilitate the education transition experience.
• Provides support and assistance to families with school-related issues.
Hampton Roads has five Navy installation SLOs to assist and support our Navy families living throughout the 12 school districts: John Hammer, Naval Air Station Oceana/Dam Neck Annex; Patricia Gajan, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek; Dr. Allison Foster, Naval Station Norfolk; Sharon Black, Norfolk Naval Shipyard; and Katrina Patterson, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.
Ensuring that every child receives a quality education is a concern for military families, and transitioning from school to school is always challenging. Ensuring that these children transition into their new school community and become productive members of the student body is an objective worthy of every educator and administrator in the greater Hampton Roads area and they have a champion serving as their local installation school liaison officer.
Marian Leverette is the Navy Mid-Atlantic Region School Liaison Officer with Fleet & Family Readiness/ Regional Child and Youth Programs staff. She has a Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), a Master of Education (M.Ed) in Educational Leadership and is currently a certified teacher and administrator for VA and FL. Additional; she has taught in RI, CA and with the DoDEA School System. Marian has been a school administrator, a Higher Education (University) instructor and has 10 years of experience in elementary and secondary education; teaching students, advising parents, and working with school personnel in various states on the east coast, west coast and overseas. In addition, Marian has 10 years experience serving on active duty in the United States Navy as a naval officer, as well as being a navy spouse for 17 years and a military parent with a daughter in high school.