HONOLULU - The Joint Venture Education Forum (JVEF), a cooperative partnership between Hawaii's military community, the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) and other community organizations, highlighted success stories of Hawaii's military students and their families at its 20th Annual Meeting today. JVEF's mission is to facilitate the educational concerns and unique needs of military children and their families, such as transitioning to the islands, and to support Hawaii's public school students.
"Over its 20 years, the JVEF partnership between the Department of Education and our local military has worked to transform schools in positive ways for our military-impacted students," said Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Covell. "We've made great strides in making Transition Centers a key part of our school design models to help incoming students acclimate so they can stay focused on academic achievement, our school teams and our state offices are working hard, along with our students and parents, to ensure we maximize our Impact Aid federal reimbursement funds every year, and our military volunteers continue to step up to be great mentors to our students and devote their time and sweat to improve our campuses."
Hawaii has the highest number of military-dependent children per capita in the nation, representing approximately 15,000 students or eight-percent of the total student enrollment. The majority of these students attend 45 schools located on or near military installations in Oahu's Central, Leeward and Windward School Districts.
"[Military parents] can't do the job their nation asks them to do when they're worried about their families, this profession requires a family commitment in terms of the number of moves, the number of unknowns, the length of deployments, all these things are challenges," said General Robert B. Brown, Commanding General, US Army Pacific. "The strength of our military is our families and JVEF has done more than any other program to help those families and it has made an incredible difference."
Awards were presented recognizing JVEF's outstanding civilian and military contributors whose efforts have had a significant impact on Hawaii's military and public school students.
A joint presentation of the 2019 Daniel K. Inouye JVEF Outstanding Military Contributor Commendation Award was made to Mr. James Morris. Mr. Morris has been an active JVEF liaison member for 10 years and has advocated for school facility improvements including major renovations, remodeled classrooms, air conditioning, playground upgrades and the establishment of new Transition Centers.
The 2019 K. Mark Takai Outstanding Civilian Contributor Commendation Award was made to Principal Alisa Bender of Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam Elementary School. Principal Bender initiated several programs to address the needs of military students and their families, including a Military Mentorship program and an Anchored for Life programs. Principal Bender has created a school climate that is both welcoming to military families and conducive to academic achievement, one that serves as a model for other schools.
Forty military servicemen and women were also recognized for their dedicated volunteer work at various Hawaii schools, serving as mentors for military-impacted students of all ages and spearheading campus and classroom improvements.
For more details on JVEF, Impact Aid and military-impacted schools in Hawaii, visit HIDOE's Military Families website.