Boxes, bubble wrap, a new school

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Lost in the confusion of permanent change of station season? Fairchild’s school liaison services are here to provide military families with a wide variety of resources to facilitate military youth education transitions.

A school liaison provides support for military families transitioning in and out of Fairchild and acts as the “middle man” between the base, military families and the local community.

“My role is to assist military families by coordinating educational resources, answering questions and ensuring special requirements are met,” said Steve McMullen, Airman & Family Readiness Center school liaison specialist. “Fairchild has always had a great relationship with the surrounding schools, by enhancing programs through a collaborative partnership.”

Fairchild is surrounded by 11 different school districts, all offering various resources, extracurricular activities and academics.

“I have an in-depth conversation with families to ensure their child’s needs are met here or at their gaining location,” said McMullen. “Whether that is wanting to play lacrosse, learning Latin or using special needs learning tools, we want to ensure the family’s transition is seamless.”

McMullen works closely with the 11 districts, sharing ideas to best support and provide for military students. Rey Ornelas is one of the many people McMullen communicates and partners with. Ornelas served 22 years in the Air Force before stepping into his current position as a military family advocate for the Medical Lake School District.

“We have a large military population in the Spokane County area. I get to work exclusively with Fairchild and the 900 military students,” said Ornelas. “Our district is 48 percent military and we pride ourselves on that.”

Ornelas’ job is just one of the many military-related positions created throughout the 11 districts to help families learn the ins and outs of the district and to assist throughout the school year during deployments, TDYs and family emergencies.

“Comfort for our families is key,” said Ornelas. “If the parents feel stressed about the transition, children will be stressed. We want to sit down with families, take the extra time and help ease the transition.”
If you and your family have an upcoming PCS this summer, here are a few tips from the experts to help ease your child’s transition to a new school:

  1. The key to a smooth transition is to start early and ask a lot of questions
  2. If you are looking for accurate, reliable information, go straight to the source
  3. Ensure school-related paperwork is carried by hand to your next duty location, including: last report card, progress report, current class schedule, immunization records, unofficial transcript and course directory
  4. Be prepared for change, as processes are always adapting

    For more information or questions on your child’s transition to a new school, call Steve McMullen at (509) 247-2246.