How Families Can Drive Social and Emotional Learning

Think back to the many wonderful moments of summer break as a child. Having the freedom to play, lead, think, and simply exist in your own unique way, testing your limits and sharing your imagination and ideas without the filters and regulations of the academic environment.

Now, imagine losing all of that in an instant. All of the joy. All of the freedom. All the imagination. That can be what it’s like for youth to begin the school year and shift into an environment where their social and emotional well-being is not adequately encouraged or supported.

As an active parent in the educational system for nearly two decades, I have witnessed firsthand how competing pressures on schools and educators have drawn attention away from students’ individual abilities, needs, strengths, and circumstances. It seems that the learning environment has become less focused on each student’s success and personal growth.

The time has come to place social and emotional learning back at the forefront in our schools – and it is now more important than ever.  Families, schools, and communities working together are the key to making social and emotional learning and development in school the norm for every child. That’s the central message of the Family Call to Action from the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Developed by parents, for parents, the Call to Action lays out what we need from our schools – and each other:

We Need Our Schools to Know and Teach the Whole Student

Schools need to move away from one-size-fits-all policies to better meet the needs of each and every student.  When a student’s comprehensive development is fully supported, they are free to build critical life skills such as responsibility, respect, teamwork, self-control, and strength in the face of adversity. They are better able to overcome intellectual and personal challenges they may face in life.

We Need to Be Partners in Our Children’s Learning

Students need to see that their families are involved and invested in their educational well-being in positive ways. This includes attending meetings, conferences, after-school activities, and supporting homework and outside enrichment opportunities. It also means engaging directly with your child about whether their social, emotional, and academic needs are being met.

Be relentless in challenging policies that stifle personal growth and well-being. Collaborate with teachers, administrative staff, and district leaders to ensure that programs and policies are tailored to  individual social and emotional needs. Demand that school leaders communicate clearly and often.

We Need a Whole Community Approach

Extend your efforts beyond the school walls and into the community. Families, local businesses, and community organizations all have a role to play in educating our children. Programs such as mentoring, career shadowing and internship opportunities, and after-school tutoring services are essential to a complete education.

We Need Schools to Integrate Social, Emotional, and Academic Growth into the School Culture and Climate

Social and emotional development takes place all day, not during a 30-minute lesson. Encourage leaders in your school to shift resources that are being used inefficiently to instead support a whole student approach to learning.

We Need to Support Adults Who Support Our Children

The teachers and staff who educate our children are essential, and they need our support. Educators need ongoing professional development and mental health support to be as effective as they can be. Parents and families should have access to learning opportunities as well.

Make Your Voice Heard! 

Sign the National Commission’s Family Call to Action to urge schools to support students’ comprehensive development, then share the sign-on message with families in your community.

Together, we can give future generations of students a solid foundation and the opportunity to practice vital skills every day to develop the self-confidence, compassion, and critical thinking needed to become the model citizens and leaders that they desire to be.


Makeba Giles is the mother of four children who attend public schools and a founding writer of FaithHealthHome.com, an online magazine featuring health, family, and current events for the positive lifestyle. She is a member of the Parent Advisory Panel for the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.

Go Back to School Thinking About Your End Game

It begins again! When’s the first PTA meeting? When is Open House? Do we have enough volunteers? Where’s the budget? Who has the membership forms? It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of preparing PTA for a new school year. Want some advice? Think about the “end game” to help you focus on what matters. It’s so much easier to get to where you want to go if you know where you want to end up!

How many young people will your PTA touch this year? How many will decide to be a writer because of the PTA assembly, shine in a PTA Reflections program, get active in a PTA fun run, or have their futures open wide during a STEM night? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, will your PTA be able to say it positively influenced the lives of 100% of the children in your community? Think about the excitement your PTA can generate as you work toward that goal and think about how great it will feel to achieve it.

How many families will your PTA benefit this year? How many adults will get involved in their child’s education, have fun as a family, advocate on behalf of a child, or create a healthier, safer home environment because PTA provided the opportunity and resources? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, wouldn’t you love to report that your PTA made a positive difference in the lives of 100% of the families of your community? Think about the partners and members you can attract as you work toward that goal and how amazing it will feel to have that type of impact on children and families.

How many community members will your PTA influence this year? What services and programs can be made available through partnerships, how many non-parent adults will be become school supporters, how many resources can become available to families, children and schools because of the relationships your PTA builds? Start planning and counting now. When the school year ends, wouldn’t it be deeply satisfying to report your PTA’s role in improving your community and increasing the support it provides to children, families and schools?

PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that movement as a member, volunteer or leader? PTA is out to change the world. How will your PTA take us all one step closer to our end game?


Deborah Walsh is the National Service Representative Manager for National PTA.

Cobb Middle School – Rise to Excellence Celebration

 

Cobb Middle School PTA in Frisco, Texas had a great deal to celebrate at their Rise to Excellence event as a 2017-2019 National PTA School of Excellence and the 2017 National PTA Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Award winner. Cobb Middle School is the first school in Frisco ISD to receive the School of Excellence designation and the first school in Texas to receive the Hearst Award, National PTA’s highest honor for effective family engagement. Filling the auditorium in attendance at the celebration event were Cobb Middle School students, staff, administration, the PTA Board of Trustees and past PTA presidents, Texas and National PTA, Deputy Superintendents, the Mayor and his wife. Student performances from band, choir, theater and cheer groups adorned speeches from students in Teen Leadership, administration and PTA leaders.

In his speech, a Cobb Middle School 8th grader, James Kair, extended gratitude to the PTA saying, “They are the people who make Cobb stronger compared to other middle schools. What we have here at Cobb is special. We reflect back what the parents and teachers show us. This is not the case at all middle schools. We take it for granted because we’ve all been so fortunate our whole time here to have such amazing, amazing people running our school…it’s those selfless parents who volunteered their time to make our experience better.” James went on to explain that receiving the award was an enormous honor and show of support stating, “This is a big deal. This is what it’s liked to be loved. This is what it’s like to be cared for. Not many people can say that they have that. Life is a mountain. Taking a tumble down a mountain is not nearly as bad when you have someone behind you picking you up.” Cobb Middle School Principal, Kecia Theodore, started and ended her speech with cheer and applause. The excitement was palpable. She recognized everyone in the room for their efforts in enabling students to thrive. In her words, “PTA is awesome. PTA here at Cobb is woven into the fabric of who we are. I cannot imagine having a day here at school we do not have PTA here to support us. Students, please know this is a special day for us so today, we stand a little taller, we smile a little wider. This is a time to show your pride.”

Heather Ashwell-Hair, Vice President of Leadership at Texas PTA, broke down the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships, the process of becoming a nationally-recognized School of Excellence and how Cobb Middle was the top-ranked, #1 School of Excellence to earn the Phoebe Apperson Hearst award saying, “I know how much of a team effort this was.” She went on to  explain that only 143 PTAs were recognized as 2017-2019 National PTA Schools of Excellence and that Texas recognized 18 of these PTAs. Leslie Boggs, National PTA President-Elect, shared the legacy of National PTA’s co-founders, Alice Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst over 121 years ago. She described the Cobb students as fantastic and special, and asked them to bring their voices to make positive change.

Melinda Samberson, PTA President of Frisco ISD PTAs, Immediate Past President and 2016-17 School of Excellence Program Leader at Cobb, spoke about her personal involvement in the school, having three children that span 8 years at Cobb. Regarding the School of Excellence, Melinda said, “The great thing about this award and honor is that it wasn’t just me, or the PTA, or the teachers, or the principal or the families or the students, but It was a unified effort to make Cobb Middle School better; A true family-school partnership. And because of the collaboration, it wasn’t just the PTA or the school that benefitted, but the students and families and the entirety of this campus. This award sparked interest …as we all strive for excellence, our community wins.” In her role as Council President and with 10 years of PTA experience, Melinda is now working to make Frisco ISD Council’s vision come to fruition, to make all schools better, saying, “We can do this together as a team and the students will benefit. That is the power and value of PTA.”

It is clear that Cobb Middle School PTA is incredibly honorable and remarkable, working collaboratively with the administration, teachers and staff to make their school a true School of Excellence. To learn more about Cobb Middle School PTA’s journey to become the 2017 Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Award winner visit PTA.org/Hearst. To learn more about how your PTA can become key partners in continuous school improvement and to enroll in the School of Excellence program visit PTA.org/Excellence or email Excellence@PTA.org.

 


Amy Weinberg is the Manager of Programs & Partnerships at National PTA.

Snack Duty Made Simple

(Sponsored Post) Many school snacks of today would have been hard to imagine even just 10 years ago.

When I was growing up, most products available on campus were synonymous with indulgence. I vividly remember my mom helping with school fundraisers … I couldn’t wait for the bake sale!

A lot has changed since I was a kid.

Today, the items available to our children at school still taste delightful—but the products’ nutritional content has drastically improved for the better.

The Vegas Family enjoying post-snack time activities

This is all because we’ve raised the bar for foods and beverages sold to students on campus. Since 2014, the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School Standards have put in place nutrition guidelines for snacks and drinks sold in vending machines, school stores, snack carts, á la carte lines and in-school fundraising, as well as for products served at celebrations and events.

As a parent, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Knowing that my school is prioritizing the health and well-being of my kids is incredibly important to me, so when I need to bring in snacks for parties or fundraisers, I want to be sure that I’m supporting the efforts of my school. As a busy mom though, I don’t have the time (or the math know-how) to calculate percentages of sugar and sodium while zipping through the supermarket aisles or while frantically placing an online order in between baseball innings.

That’s why I worked with Amazon Business to create the Healthier Generation Store, which features hundreds of products that meet the Smart Snacks standards. So if you need to order 30 (or even 300!) snacks for that end-of-year school party, check it out. In the wise words of my six-year-old daughter, it’s “easy-peasy lemon squeezy”.

Set up your PTA’s free Amazon Business Account to access business-level pricing and easily shop for all your PTA needs. Tie your school’s Amazon Smile account to your business account to maximize your donations.

The product assortment is growing by the day, so leave me a note in the comment field about what products you’d like to see added to the store!

Register your PTA and shop for Smart Snacks today!


 

Elizabeth Vegas serves as the director of business sector strategies at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She’s a tired mom of two awesome kids who consistently waits until the last minute to get most things done.

5 Secrets to Finding the Perfect Balance as PTA Leader AND a Parent

(Sponsored Post) Let’s be honest. Parents are some of the busiest people on Earth. And when you add in a PTA leadership role, it can be tough to juggle responsibilities at home and at school. So how do you strike the right balance?

After working with thousands of PTA leaders, and helping them run over 10,000 successful fundraisers during the past 16 years, at Boosterthon we’ve learned a thing or two about serving in a parent organization. Here are five simple secrets to creating a healthy balance between being a parent and a PTA leader.

 1. Schedule and save

Leading the PTA requires a ton of planning and time-consuming work. One way to overcome this is by scheduling time for PTA-related work (just like you would for any other job). For example, try setting aside several hours one weekday for PTA meetings, projects or just getting organized. Knowing this time is blocked out on your calendar will allow you to be fully present in other areas of your life. And because you’re not worried about finding the time to get the work done, you’ll be far less likely to feel overwhelmed.

 2. Next, flex

Whether it’s a last-minute PTA project or a DIY project at home, we all know things don’t always go as planned. Having flex time built into your schedule can help you catch up. Find some open time in the week and protect it like you would an important meeting. That way you can use your scheduled flex time to catch up before heading into a busy weekend.

 3. Be realistic and communicate expectations

When working with others on a PTA project or event, you should first consider your schedule and how much “PTA time” you have available. Here’s a tip: Be realistic. Don’t try to do it all. Then communicate openly and clearly to ensure everyone understands the expectations on timing. Most people are working to establish the same type of balance in their lives, so others will understand if you have to say no.

 4. Don’t be afraid to ask for H-E-L-P

As a PTA leader, one of the most important parts of your job is building relationships with other parents. Many parents genuinely want to help out. Get to know the volunteers who sign up to help at events, and let them know how much you value them. Make note of parents who sign up regularly to volunteer, and ask if you can contact them directly with other volunteer needs.

Building relationships you can lean on is crucial in maintaining more balance in your life.

 5. Focus on your family

As PTA leaders, you spend a lot of time at various PTA events throughout the year, and many of them occur outside of school hours. Getting your kids involved gives them a sense of pride and allows you to spend time working together as a family to help your school. Who knows? Your kids might just love making posters for book fairs, greeting new students at the open house and helping with carnival set-up.

A Final Thought

Remember, no one gets the whole “being a parent” thing perfectly right. Give yourself grace as you seek to strike the right balance between parenting your kids and volunteering at your school. But remember, it’s because of committed parents like you that schools thrive. And to that we say this: Thank you.

Boosterthon is an elementary school fundraiser on a mission to change the world by helping schools raise more and stress less. With over 2,400 schools and 1.6 million students across America participating in our programs, we’re reinventing the way schools do fundraising. To learn more, visit Boosterthon.com

Explore digital learning over Spring Break

(Sponsored Post) As a busy working mom of 3 young children, I look forward to spring break. It’s a moment when time slows down and I’m able to disconnect from the daily scramble of balancing work and home life so I can focus on my family.

Spending the spring break with my children usually involves tons of crafts, a marathon game of Monopoly, and lots of time outside. Yet I also make time for learning, not only for myself — catching up on the latest research on education technology — but also to better understand how my children are using technology in their school.

Working in education technology means I pester my children with specific questions about what devices and apps they are using in their classroom, what they like and dislike, and what types of digital content they are creating. We have a Chromebook in my house, so I can also get a first-hand perspective of what they’re doing in school and learn alongside them.

All comes in one

Because Chromebooks are designed to be sharable and secure, my sons can log in with their individual school accounts and their work is not at risk of being touched by a sneaky sibling. Plus, it means I save money by purchasing one durable and affordable device that everyone can share — even me. Chromebooks also come with built-in virus production and automatic updates that keep our family information protected and secure, so I don’t have to worry about downloading security updates or purchasing additional antivirus software.

Let creativity bloom

Many of the activities we enjoy on the Chromebook together revolve around creativity, which is supported by our touch screen and stylus enabled Chromebook. We draw pictures using mobile apps like Squid (many Chromebooks can now run mobile apps from Google Play Store), create music using websites like Soundtrap, and make videos using tools like WeVideo. My oldest is a musician, so we explore tons of videos that demonstrate how to play guitar and piano chords. We also have heart-to-hearts about what it means to be a digital citizen.

We also play with Scratch, which is a friendly and visual programming language developed by MIT that exposes children to computer science in an engaging way. What’s fun about Scratch is that you don’t need to be a computer scientist in order to guide your child — you can learn right alongside them.

This spring break, ask your child how they are using technology in their school. If they say they’re using a Chromebook and you want to learn more, here’s some information to explore.

Here’s to a great rejuvenating spring break. May it be filled with family learning and fun!

Karen Greenleaf leads Chromebook learning initiatives at Google. She is a mother of 3 elementary school children and is involved in her school’s parent teacher steering committee.

Google has teamed up with the National PTA to create the Chromebooks for PTAs program. When your local PTA enrolls in the program, a percentage of your community Chromebook purchases will go to your local PTA.

 

Spring into the New Season with Healthy Habits

(Sponsored Post)

Cabin fever is not the only bug around this time of year! This winter has been one of the most severe flu seasons in recent years with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[1] reporting that flu season can run as late in the year as May. Across the country, families and school communities are dealing with the severity of this season and while it is unpredictable as to when it will end, there are prevention methods to help stay healthy.

With spring time approaching, it’s important to leave cold and flu behind in the winter months to fully enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather ahead. The National Parent Teacher Association teamed up with Lysol, as part of the Healthy Habits Program, to share easy and effective tips to help prevent germs from spreading as we go into the spring months:

  • Continue Using Healthy Habits: It’s important to remind your children to use healthy habits all year-round, not just during the winter! Reinforce the use of proper cough and sneeze etiquette to help prevent the spread of germs. Also be mindful to avoid being around sick people, and stay home if you are sick, to help stop the spread of germs. Another easy way to help stop the spread of germs is to disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces in the home with Lysol Disinfectant Spray. The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours.  Lysol Disinfecting Spray kills over 100 illness causing germs, including the flu virus
  • Spring Cleaning: Lysol Disinfecting Wipes is tough on messes and germs. Adding Disinfecting Wipes to your spring cleaning routine will not only clean, but kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria including the cold and flu virus. Remember to disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as keyboards, doorknobs and tables. Lysol is a participant in the Box Tops for Education program, which helps support education and benefits America’s schools. By purchasing Lysol products, you can earn valuable points which can be converted into cash and donated to your child’s school to help provide needed items such as computers, playground equipment and more.
  • Wash Up: With more outdoor activities scheduled during the spring, remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently for at least 20 seconds. For more information on how to help keep your family healthy this spring, visit Lysol.com.

[1] CDC.gov “Frequently Asked Flu Questions 2017-2018 Influenza Season”(February 21, 2018)

Rory Trait is the Marketing Director at Lysol.

What Do Successful Schools Look Like?

As a parent, I have a good idea of how my child’s school is working for her. I talk to her and her friends about what is going on there. I see the work that she is doing. I communicate with her teachers and other school staff.

But while I know that my daughter is at a school that’s good for her, it’s harder to figure out whether it’s a successful school overall. Is her school helping each of its students reach their fullest potential? What does such a school look like?

The Learning First Alliance, which includes organizations like National PTA and whose members collectively represent more than 10 million educators, parents and local policymakers, have pulled together to research and answer that question.

The result of that effort is “The Elements of Success: 10 Million Speak on Schools That Work,” an anthology that identifies six elements that are common to all successful schools. It also makes clear that there is no one model for a successful school—in each success story, educators, parents and local communities have developed programs specific to their goals and challenges, within their communities’ setting.

While all successful schools share the six elements, how they are implemented and integrated depends greatly on context. The elements are:

  • Focus on the Total Child: Successful schools support all students’ needs—inside and outside the classroom—to help them become effective, empowered learners. They design and carry out programs that offer all students a rich educational experience, supporting their academic and social/emotional learning and physical development.
  • Commitment to Equity and Access: Successful schools ensure all students have access to high-quality services and support systems, enabling them to set and reach high goals for learning. In them, equity does not mean equality; they recognize some students need additional resources to have the same opportunity for success as others. They also recognize diversity is a strength.
  • Family and Community Engagement: Successful schools effectively engage families and communities in support of students. In doing so, they identify barriers to such engagement and work to overcome them.
  • Distributed Leadership: Successful schools define leadership broadly. Leadership is distributed among principals, teachers, parents, community members and others in the building, and decision-making is a shared endeavor.
  • Strong, Supported Teaching Force and Staff: Successful schools are staffed with educators—including teachers, principals, school counselors, technology specialists and others—who are well-educated, well-prepared and well-supported. These educators meet high standards of practice, and they benefit from continuous learning opportunities.
  • Relationship-Oriented School Climate: Successful schools create a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility among staff and students and with families and communities. These schools are safe, welcoming and respectful to all.

These elements are all widely known. But two things make this collection of research unique. One is consensus. “The Elements of Success: 10 Million Speak on Schools That Work” does not reflect the expertise of one individual or one organization. It reflects the collective wisdom of all the various public-school interest groups—parents, teachers, administrators and more. Together, they agree these are the elements needed for a school to perform at a high level.

The second is the emphasis on interactions. A school with good teachers and poor leadership won’t be successful. Nor will a school with strong leadership and teachers that focuses solely on test scores. The interaction between all six of these elements is critical.

So how can parents and PTAs use this information? One idea is to use this research as a conversation starter. Bring parents, teachers, administrators and others in the school community together to honestly assess where you are in terms of each of these six elements. Identify your strengths and where additional support is needed. Then work together to make sure your school is meeting the needs of every child who attends.

The report and supporting materials are available at LearningFirst.org/ElementsOfSuccess.

Anne O’Brien is Deputy Director at the Learning First Alliance.   

It Takes a Village: Lessons on Developing the Whole Child

I know you’ve got a lot more on your plate than your next work deadline. You have to pick your kids up from swim practice; you are worried about that cough your dad had over the holidays; you are daydreaming about writing that novel. The same is true of your children—they also have more to worry about, and way more to contribute, than taking the next test.

As adults, we are able (most of the time) to strive for balance in our lives. But our children don’t have enough experience to be able to do that yet. In order for them to be successful, we have to be able to show them how to manage the stress that daily life brings.

That’s where social, emotional and academic development comes in. The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development is spending two years talking to parents, teachers and students to explore how schools can develop the whole child. And on a site visit to Tacoma, Wash., last month, commissioners got some powerful answers.

I was there as a parent advisor to the Commission. Here are three strategies we saw in Tacoma that hold exciting potential for communities across the country:

  1. Leverage the Power of the Community

Schools have a pretty single-minded focus: educate our kids. But what leaders in Tacoma realized is that you don’t have to bend other organizations to your priorities in order to build a community effort around supporting students—you just have to let everyone play to their strengths.

Take Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute (SAMI) for example. This high school, set in the middle of Point Defiance Park, uses its working relationship with the city Parks Department to foster experiences that are truly hands on, and sometimes unexpected. My student tour guide at SAMI told me about a calculus test she recently took while seated by the aquarium’s shark tank. She said the dimness and serenity helped her focus. Students manage ongoing research projects, train to be docents at the zoo, and can work on internships that allow them to apply their learning in real-world settings.

  1. Listen to Students and Teachers

We all know teachers wear many hats. That’s why it’s critical to understand that focusing on students’ social, emotional and academic development doesn’t have to be burdensome. In fact, Tacoma teachers say the Whole Child Initiative has made them feel more supported and free to do their jobs. The initiative has slashed tardy arrivals and absences, boosted test scores and reduced discipline referrals across the district. During my visits to Tacoma’s public schools, I witnessed how teachers are valued as front-line experts and are given opportunities for leadership.

Tacoma also actively includes student voices. At each school I visited, it was clear that not only do students feel listened to, they feel empowered: empowered to resolve their own conflicts, to speak with authority and pride about their schools, and be active participants in shaping their schools’ cultures. For example, students at Jason Lee Middle School advise educators on improvements that can be made and are an active part of the rule-making process. The PTA motto of “every child, one voice” was truly on display in Tacoma.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative

Each child, classroom, school and district is different. What’s unique about your community? You may not have Point Defiance Park, but what about a creative partnership with that homeless shelter down the road?

Tacoma’s schools are flourishing under the Whole Child Initiative, but to replicate that success will mean stepping outside of our comfort zones of fall festivals and fun runs. It will mean focusing on how we, as parents and community members, can do that extra little bit to establish meaningful relationships with the world outside of the school walls.

Our children are complex. Let’s help make sure their educations develop all their potential.

Van Overton is the executive director of SpreadLoveABQ (an organization committed to developing creative fundraising solutions for child advocacy groups); the co-founder of Duke City Dream Lab (an organization that works to make the arts accessible to all children); a three-year member of the New Mexico PTA Board of Directors; and an active volunteer in Albuquerque schools. Van is a member of the National Commission’s Parent Advisory Panel.

5 Things You Should Know About March 2 Success

(Sponsored Post)

As parents, we make it a priority to ensure our children receive a quality education, post-secondary opportunities and career fulfillment.  But when it comes to taking the SAT, ACT or other standardized tests, we sometimes don’t know how to best help our kids prepare.  This is where March 2 Success comes in—a free online, interactive program created to enhance ACT and SAT as well as student performance.  From high school science, math and verbal skills to college readiness and planning tips, this online resource has the tools and information students need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Here are 5 important facts about March 2 Success

  1. Content is provided by industry leaders in standardized testing and college preparation.

Peterson’s, a leading provider of solutions for the education community for more than 40 years, developed the content for this easy-to-use, self-paced program.  Any student age 13 and older can participate, and there is no obligation.

  1. It’s a user-friendly program designed for convenience.

We know students’ schedules can be chaotic.  From sports and studying to family life, March 2 Success is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so students can log on any time that is convenient for them.

  1. It provides a complete guide to college financing and admissions.

We want to take the guesswork out of the college admission and financing process. March 2 Success includes a special emphasis on scholarships and supplies related web links.

In addition, the program’s Student Planning Guide provides a month-by-month plan of important steps involved in the entire college preparation process from freshman to senior year.

  1. Participants receive tailored lesson plans and study materials to help improve competency in the skills after an assessment.

The curriculum begins with a pre-assessment to determine each student’s knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. This includes standard English, math and science sections.

Every individual is unique, so we focus on the importance of individualized and strategic learning that concentrates on achievable goals.

  1. M2S has a video game to raise SAT/ACT scores called, “Zero Hour Threat.”

Zero Hour Threat, created by i.d.e.a.s. at Disney-MGM, is an interactive action game designed to increase standardized test scores, as well as enhance general mathematics and vocabulary skills while having fun studying and reviewing in a game format.  There are two versions of the game with different scenarios.

In addition to students, March 2 Success is a valuable tool for educators, parents and mentors.  One of the many features offered is the ability to monitor student progress, which is a great way to stay involved.

The U.S. Army is fully committed to strengthening the education resources for our Nation’s youth and this program is the first step.  To learn more about U. S. Army educational programs or March 2 Success, visit http://www.armyedspace.com/ and watch this video.

Jose A. “Tony” Castillo is Education Chief for U. S. Army Recruiting Command.  In his role he oversees several outreach initiatives and promotes Army education resources designed to help young people explore various career paths and succeed in their post-secondary future – as professionals and as citizens.