Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CGCC Teachers Serve Military Families Abroad Through Education

Scott Adamson, Ph.D and Linda Meng
Last semester, two Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) mathematics faculty members, Scott Adamson, Ph.D and Linda Meng, had the distinct honor of traveling to U.S. military bases abroad to train fellow educators on the latest college and career readiness standards in mathematics.  Their journey was part of a program funded by the United States Department of Defense Education Agency (DoDEA), an agency responsible for educating children of military service members who are stationed overseas. Adamson was selected to serve teachers at the United States Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan while Meng was assigned to the United States Army Base in Daegu, South Korea.

“There is constant awareness of our U.S. troops serving on military bases abroad but far less recognition of the thousands of American children who live on these same bases.  They attend American schools where they are taught by American teachers,” said Adamson. “This program was an opportunity to serve my country by serving those teachers who educate our children and are often overlooked because of their location.” 

It is the DoDEA’s responsibility to educate these children at the same level as their peers receive state side.  And as the DoDEA transitions to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics it, in partnership with the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas, has sought out top U.S. teachers like Adamson and Meng to get our educators serving abroad fully up to speed.    

For Meng, this too was the chance to serve her country through education, but as a former military wife with a son currently serving as a 4th generation military man, it was very personal. 
“This experience allowed me to help other military families through education,” she expressed.  “Some military families stationed abroad may feel cut off from the U.S. and this program helps military parents ensure their children stay connected through the same quality education as they would receive back home.” 

And it was by pure coincidence that her assignment to the Daegu American School was on the same base as where her son, a 4th generation military man, is serving. “I got to see him and where he works! How awesome is that?!” beamed Meng.

This program was also the opportunity for both Adamson and Meng to visit a new country and experience a different culture, something they both enjoy. "This program allowed me to travel to Japan for the first time and connect with the Japanese culture," said Adamson. "It also allowed me the chance to see what military families endure while overseas, and the important role they play in the lives of the men and women serving our country."
The CGCC esteemed faculty underwent an intensive 4-day training provided by the Dana Center to prepare for providing professional development to DoDEA teachers and leaders.  The focus of their curriculum was new math strategies. 

"Our job was to help train teachers to encourage their students to apply math to real life situations through new innovative methods. We want students to understand that math applies beyond the classroom walls, said Meng."The best part of the program was seeing how excited and grateful the teachers were about the training and their eagerness to implement with their classrooms."

Additional Info:

Adamson and Meng were selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants to be Charles A. Dana Center Facilitation Fellows by the Charles A. Dana Center International Facilitation Fellows. The Dana Center is under a $12M contract with the DoDEA to equip American teachers and leaders with new tools to support the implementation of the new standards in mathematics at U.S. military bases in 13 countries.  Selection was based on each Fellow’s depth of understanding of college and career readiness standards in mathematics and experience supporting teachers in learning and improving their practice. 

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