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Assisting Tinker parents with education matters

updated Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Views: 455

Julie Franklin, Tinker’s 72nd Force Support Squadron school liaison officer, speaks at the Airman & Family Readiness Center recently about the resources available to military and government civilian personnel needing information through her role as the school liaison officer. She is the point of contact for families moving into or off of Tinker Air Force Base who want to make the best possible choice in education for their children. (Air Force photo by John Parker)
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --  Active duty Airmen who are also parents at Tinker Air Force Base share a responsibility that the Air Force takes as seriously as they do: ensuring the best education possible for their combined total of approximately 2,000 children who attend area K-12 schools.
That number doesn’t include the children of thousands of civilian government employees on base, Sailors and area military recruiters of all branches.
All of those categories of parents are eligible to receive help and advice from Tinker’s 72nd Force Support Squadron School Liaison Officer, Julie Franklin. She is the base’s point of contact for all military and civilian child education matters.
Her work with parents, base leaders and area educators is aimed at helping parents and caregivers of children 5- to 18-years-old understand local education communities and to educate school administrators, counselors and educators on military lifestyle and culture and how it impacts military-connected children.
She provides information about all education options, including public and private schools, plus home, charter and virtual schooling. Franklin also offers information and advocacy to families with special needs children to ensure their accommodation needs are met.
Parents can also take advantage of her help on navigating the ins and outs of understanding required state testing, school exit exams, graduating seniors applying for financial aid, student transition, Individual Education Plan processes, 504 plans, tutoring assistance and more.
Franklin assists new families at Tinker who face options that include 32 school districts within a 25-mile radius of the base. “That can be quite overwhelming for our parents,” she said.
“I provide to parents resources and information to assist them in making an informed decision as to a school of choice best meeting the educational needs of their children,” Franklin said. “I also educate school personnel on the unique challenges and issues associated with military-connected students/families and answer questions such as, “What is it like to live a military lifestyle? What is it like to move six to nine times? What are the hardships faced by a child moving to multiple different schools, from one state to another or one country to another? What can school personnel do to support military children, especially in times of deployments?”
With the military Permanent Change of Station season in full swing through early fall, Franklin deals with many families arriving here or leaving Tinker on the way to new assignments. She’s the point of contact for families in either situation.
She has personal experience as a parent concerned about finding the best possible education options at new locations.
 “I was a military spouse for 25 years and my family experienced several moves from one installation to another and my children one school to another,” she said. “I utilize my personal experiences to relate to our families and this contributes to my successes as the school liaison officer. I can relate to challenges faced by our military families when facing a move, a school transition, a deployment.”
Franklin, who works at the Airman & Family Readiness Center, said parents should not hesitate to call her for assistance at 734-3683, or email her at julie.franklin.1@us.af.mil.
“Our children are vital to America’s future,” she said. “The base is committed to helping parents and schools create an environment that fosters a child’s potential and inspires him or her to academic excellence.”

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