The Military Child Initiative

The Military Child Initiative

An Overview

Imagine Andrews Public Charter School has formed a partnership with Lynne Michael Blum, PhD, a leading clinical psychologist and an adjunct faculty member at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to conduct a series of workshops and training sessions designed to help Imagine Andrews teachers and administrators improve the way they meet the needs of children from military families. Future plans call for Dr. Blum to conduct similar training sessions and workshops specifically designed for Imagine Andrews families.

A growing body of research indicates that students whose parents are deployed in active war zones or have experienced frequent moves due to job relocations often experience many emotional ups and downs, including depression, acting out or negative behavioral adjustment, poor academic performance, and increased irritability and impulsiveness. The main goals of “The Military Child Initiative” are to raise awareness of these and other problems encountered by children from a military family, and to adapt research-based practical approaches to the school environment so that all students may thrive.

The 13-module course, which incorporates half-day (3.5 hours each) and full-day (7-hour) sessions, is designed to provide school administrators, support staff, and teachers with strategies and tools to help students meet life’s challenges with resilience.

Course Objectives

The objectives of “The Military Child Initiative” program are:

  • to increase an understanding of the military community, lifestyle and culture as the backdrop for military students, as well as the social, emotional and educational needs and challenges of military students, including issues of mobility and deployment
  • to explore the special challenges of youth during wartime, including separation, reunion, death and disability, and programs to help students cope with these challenges
  • to develop strategies used by school staff—administrators, support staff and teachers—to improve educational, behavioral and health outcomes for all students, enumerating those factors at the school, classroom and community levels
  • to build student resilience, particularly social, emotional and academic problem-solving skills described at each developmental stage
  • to employ best practices that can be used to create a climate where students feel safe and supported to overcome their challenges
  • to create procedures that increase students’ school connectedness and build school, parent, and community partnerships

Session topics to be taught include:

  • Getting to Know Your Military Student
  • Mobility—Social and Emotional Challenges
  • Challenges of Deployment
  • Helping Students Cope with Deployment
  • Building Student Resilience
  • School Connectedness—Creating a Caring Environment
  • School-Parent Partnerships

Varied media and content, including learning games, puzzles, and case studies, will be used to offer a balance of practical, research and conceptual knowledge and help participants to personalize the information and apply strategies in their own settings. Other resources include access to other programs, web links, and additional interventions.

About Dr. Blum

dr_blum2Lynne Michael Blum, PhD Dr. Blum is a child/adolescent clinical psychologist in clinical practice as well as an adjunct assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Mental Health. She is co-director of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Military Child Initiative, where she is leading the Best Practices Component. Her work currently includes the development of the Military Child Initiative web course and in the future will include the development of an online Best Practices library.

The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Military Child Initiative assists public schools to improve the quality of education for highly mobile and vulnerable young people with a special focus on military children and their families by providing national, state and local education agencies, as well as schools, parents and health, child welfare, juvenile justice and educational professionals with information, tools and services that enhance school success.

For more information about the seminars at Imagine Andrews, please call the school’s main number at (301) 350-6002.