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Idaho State University Professor Beverly Ray attends White House Convening of Operation Educate the Educators

April 26, 2016

POCATELLO – Beverly Ray, professor of education at Idaho State University, attended the recent White House Convening of Operation Educate the Educators this month.

“As a member of a military connected family this is an important issue for me, both personally and professionally,” Ray said. “I know firsthand the issues faced by these children.”

The convening was held in honor of the Month of the Military Child and in conjunction with the Obama Administration’s Joining Forces Initiative. It was hosted by the Office of the Vice President, the Military Hold Education Coalition and the University of Southern California. Speakers included John King, Secretary of Education, and Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States.

Participants from around the United States discussed ways to ensure inclusive, quality education for military and veteran-connected children. Their goals making a positive difference in the life of every student and sharing research with other educators on best practices. They also wanted to raise awareness among educators about the unique and diverse needs of military and veteran-connected children and foster resiliency.

The ISU College of Education is one of the original 100 signatory institutions, a reflection of ISU’s commitment to being a Veteran Friendly School.

“These children deserve sensitive, well-prepared educators who know how to make them feel welcome and a part of the school community,” Ray said. “It’s our job in the College of Education to help ensure this culture of caring exists in Idaho schools.”

In Idaho, this translates most directly to the needs of children whose parents or guardians serve in the Idaho Army or Air National Guard units that have deployed to the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan, numerous times the past 14 years. They are also concerned with a large number of children associated with the Mountain Home Air Force Base.

Another large group in Idaho includes veteran-connected children whose parents or guardians served previously but have returned to Idaho to live. Even after service has ended, some children and families face circumstances that do not allow them to put their family’s service behind them.

Operation Educate the Educators was launched in 2011 to encourage teacher-education programs across the United States to adopt a set of guiding principles aimed at better preparing educators to meet the needs of military-connected students in the classroom. Ray assists by helping educators understand how to recognize and support the often unique needs of military and veteran connected children.

“It is critical that Idaho educators recognize that these children are in our schools and that many still face issues that can negatively impact their learning,” Ray said.  “Negative impacts can include long periods of separation from a parent or other loved one, frequent moves, feelings of disconnect from the larger school community, and, in some cases, feelings of trauma.”