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Military, school personnel exchange facts at garrison education meeting

Participants in the U.S. Army Garrison Education Meeting included Garrison Commander Col. William L. Marks, from left, Sgt. Joseph Lemon, superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler, Madison Board of Education members David Hergenroeder and Connie Spears and director of special education Dr. Maria Kilgore. (CONTRIBUTED)
Participants in the U.S. Army Garrison Education Meeting included Garrison Commander Col. William L. Marks, from left, Sgt. Joseph Lemon, superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler, Madison Board of Education members David Hergenroeder and Connie Spears and director of special education Dr. Maria Kilgore. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Redstone Arsenal personnel shared ideas with local educators at the U.S. Army Garrison Education Meeting on Feb. 12.

These meetings “continue conversational solutions that will further strengthen partnerships between Team Redstone and local school districts, share pertinent information and available resources and assist military-connected families achieve smooth educational transitions,” Dr. Maria Kilgore, Madison’s director of special education, said.

Garrison Commander Col. William L. Marks presided at the meeting in Madison’s Central Office. “Col. Marks covered the relationship between school districts, along with an ROTC event. He discussed the Impact Aid survey and numbers and monies earned,” Kilgore said.

Schools receive Federal Impact Aid money for military families, civilian employees working at federal agencies and families living in federal housing. “Our impact aid numbers indicate approximately 25 percent for Madison City Schools. Those monies allow the district to spend on various needs,” Kilgore said.

Kilgore compared Marks’ work as garrison commander to the duties of a city mayor. “Thus, he handles community affairs,” she said.

Local soldiers are volunteering with learning academies, which are smaller environments for students. Kilgore, the former sergeant major and Barbara W. Williams worked on this initiative. Williams is school liaison officer with U.S. Army Child, Youth and School Services.

The group met Sgt. Joseph Lemon, who has volunteered weekly with learning academies since last fall. “Elementary children made Valentine Day thank-you cards for Sgt. Lemon. He reads with students, eats lunch and (exercises) in PE classes,” Kilgore said.

Attendees heard about Student 2 Student (S2S) and Junior S2S programs that “raise awareness of needs of all transitioning students. Military-connected and civilian students establish and sustain the school-sponsored program to welcome new students and support students relocating to and from their school,” Cindy Davis, Madison’s District At-Risk Counselor, said.

Mitchell Daly and Isabel Korty from Discovery and Liberty middle schools, respectively, and Lauren Brashear and Blake Batchelor from James Clemens and Bob Jones high schools, shared their S2S experience.

S2S training is built on research-based modules: Academics, Relationships and Finding the Way.

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