AASD seeks information for military family data

Altoona Area School District parents received letters last week from the school district asking them to respond if they are active U.S. military members.

The district is getting a jump-start on a federal requirement taking effect in June 2018, Altoona Area Community Relations Director Paula Foreman said.

As part of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, signed by President Barack Obama two years ago, Congress seeks to track school performance of students of military families.

According to the Military Child Education Coalition, the requirement for districts to track students of military families will provide data to guide educators and policymakers on how to adjust programs, direct resources and adopt strategies that support students and families.

Frequent moves and parental deployments can take a toll on students, the coalition stated in a publication on the new requirement.

It’s the first time in U.S. history that military students are recognized in the nation’s education policy, the publication states.

Compliance with the new mandate shouldn’t be overly complicated or expensive for schools, Bellwood-Antis Superintendent Tom McInroy said.

“When a new mandate comes from the federal government, my reaction is, ‘Oh, for Pete’s sakes’ or ‘OK, this is good.’ I think it’s a good one. Our military members sacrifice everything for us. Anything we can do to give back to our military families is worth it,” McInroy said.

“Our military is what gives us the rights and privileges we have today, including the right to vote and free speech. Even though they may not come back with physical scars after deployment, they

come back with invisible scars.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.