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Carol Burton, Combat Center School Liaison, introduces a panel of Morongo Unified School District principals during the first Round Table event between the administrators and parents in the local area Jan. 25, 2012.

Photo by Video by Cpl. Sarah Dietz

Round Table engages parents, school administrators

3 Feb 2012 | Sgt. Heather Golden

About 25 active duty parents met with a panel consisting of principals from across the Morongo Unified School District during a Round Table event at the community center on base Jan. 25 to discuss ways to enhance military students’ school experience and to address concerns from their parents.

“The purpose was to have an open discussion between parents and principals,” said Carol Burton, Combat Center school liaison. “Both the parents and administrators are interested in making the students’ school experience positive and productive.”

The panel opened with an introduction into the various programs their schools offer and an overview of student success rates.

The issues that garnered the most attention regarded class size, curriculum, advanced placement classes, funding and budgeting.

Parents were particularly concerned about the effect frequent moves have on their children and what can be done to help ease that strain.

By 2014, parents should start to see a shift in school curriculum state-to-state with the start of the Common Core Standards program, which aims to standardize expectations for each grade level across the nation.

“That question of what does my child need to know is going to broaden,” said Donette Swain, principal, Oasis Elementary School. “We will be able to teach the same common core standards. So, you will see some continuity as you move from place to place.”

But, this shouldn’t be a concern for parents with students excelling in California school systems already.

“California has some of the highest challenging standards that you can have,” said Tom Baumgarten, assistant superintendent, MUSD. “They are trying to align the standards across the country, and that’s what you’re going to hear as the national standards.”

One thing the panel was unanimous about was a request for more parent participation.

“Parent involvement has been growing,” said Paul Gattuso, principal, Condor Elementary School. “We’ve seen our parent involvement really augment over the last couple of years, and I welcome that. I want to continue to see that grow. I’ve seen a lot of good things come from that.”

There are parent volunteer organizations at each school, and each facility also holds monthly school site committee meetings, Burton said.

“Being part of that process is key to making sure you understand where we are,” Swain said. “I have a very difficult time getting parents to come. That is a place where you can get your hands on the budget and be part of the decision making process.”

Parents interested in attending the site committee meeting at their child’s school can contact the school or the school liaison for information. Additional meetings similar to the Round Table are planned for the future.

Contact the school liaison at 830-1574 or carol.burton@usmc.mil with any questions.


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