New adviser links schools, organizations, military families

Janet Wynn, 88th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer, serves as the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base family and student advocate where she provides an interface between the base and local area schools on educational issues. She comes to Wright-Patterson AFB from Laughlin AFB, Texas, where she served in the same capacity. Wynn works closely with other base programs to educate schools on the challenges military children experience. (U.S. Air Force photo/Al Bright)

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Janet Wynn, 88th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer, serves as the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base family and student advocate where she provides an interface between the base and local area schools on educational issues. She comes to Wright-Patterson AFB from Laughlin AFB, Texas, where she served in the same capacity. Wynn works closely with other base programs to educate schools on the challenges military children experience. (U.S. Air Force photo/Al Bright)

Networking and establishing rapport with 29 school districts within a 20-mile radius of the base is the initial focus for Janet Wynn, who is the new school liaison officer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In this position, Wynn serves as primary adviser concerning school-related issues to the base, by promoting and facilitating communication between local K-12 schools, military families and related base organizations. Her purpose serves two-fold: to help ease the transition of military families and to maintain relationships with the schools.

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Some main concerns addressed by military families involve enrollment processes, eligibility for programs, best schools for special education, transcription of grades for secondary students and finding contacts for other school-age related resources.

One of Wynn’s primary goals is to find out where military children attend school to engage more with the schools and to better help families.

Another goal is to let military families know that the mission of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission is to address key educational transition issues encountered by children of military families. The Military Interstate Children’s Compact is now signed by all 50 states and has nine articles that cover the common trends that military children experience during transition, such as enrollment, course placement, transcribed grades and graduation requirements.

Wynn explained how a military student was considered for an extracurricular activity at the school the student was going to attend by sending a try-out video prior to arriving at the new school. As a result, the student was selected, and it was made possible through the interstate compact. Getting a position on a school’s sports team may not be guaranteed, but the interstate compact provides the opportunity to be considered.

“It’s like a one-stop shop,” said Wynn. “Families are already dealing with orders, packing, jobs, life and children – it’s empowering them and letting them know the resource is available. Instead of them looking on the Internet for the best schools, I help them to look up the school’s report card and encourage them to take a tour of the school.”

Wynn also educates military members at the “Ready the Warfighter” briefing. The RTW briefing is required for individuals who are deploying to attend to get information on base resources that can assist their families during their absence.

Working closely with other base programs, such as the Exceptional Family Member Program and Family Readiness Program, Wynn informs schools on the challenges and unique differences that military students have compared to regular students.

For instance, she works with the child military family life consultants to ensure the children’s social and emotional aspects are addressed. Some parents, even school officials, may perceive a child’s behavior to be common for their age group, but not realize that it’s actually from added stress possibly due to a deployed parent, she explained.

Wynn has been at Wright-Patterson for about two months. She was recently stationed at Laughlin AFB, Texas, where she also served as the SLO and EFMP coordinator. Prior to her previous position, she was the base Child Development Center director and training curriculum specialist for the Child and Youth flight.

“I love visiting the schools and seeing the school-age and youth,” said Wynn. “Children are so resilient and always happy to see someone to just say ‘hi’ to them.”

Wynn loves being active and spending time with her family, especially her daughters.

The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity further describes the SLO position as a point-of-contact who advocates for the educational needs of military children, assists Airmen and families with information and referrals regarding local school districts and other education options including home schooling, private schools, charters schools, and cyber schools, and ensures a communication link with inbound or outbound family members for educational issues.

For more information on the SLO program, contact Wynn at 937-656-0942 or email janet.wynn@us.af.mil.

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