Hillsborough County School Board members signed a proclamation at their April 5 meeting in support of the Month of the Military Child, which since 1986 has been celebrated in April. (Photo courtesy Hillsborough County Public Schools.)

By Linda Chion

In step with the U.S. Department of Defense, which for 35 years has recognized April as the Month of the Military Child, Hillsborough County School Board members this month approved a proclamation that recognizes the unique life and challenges of military children.

“We recognize that military children serve and sacrifice alongside their parents and continue to inspire us despite the challenge they face due to their unique situations, such as having a parent deployed for extended periods of time, changing schools and leaving friends,” said school board member Henry ‘Shake’ Washington at the board’s April 5 meeting. “We are so very honored that the men and women who serve our country trust their children’s education to Hillsborough County Public Schools.”

According to school district figures, Hillsborough is home to roughly 4,600 dependents of active-duty military members and 8,700 military-connected students. Nationwide, there are more than 1.6 million military children, according to a defense department report, which notes that on average, “military families move every two to three years, impacting military children through changing schools and support networks.”

MacDill Air Force Base representatives were in attendance on April 5 for the Hillsborough proclamation, which notes the award-winning MacDill Council for Educational Excellence (MCEE), an extensive collaboration between military leaders, educators and community leaders. According to school officials, the district this year has 19 schools with military family life counselors, up from six in 2019-20.

“Children of service members are a source of pride and honor to us all,” the proclamation reads, “and it is vital to recognize their contributions, celebrate their strength and let our men and women in uniform know that while they are serving our nation, we are serving their children.”

Toward that end, resources are available on the school district’s website, which includes links to Our Military Kids, the National Military Family Association, Seasons of My Military Student, Sesame Street for Military Families, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, Military OneSource and Military Kids-Special Education Alliance. Visit www.hillsboroughschools.org/militaryfamilies.

For military family support and services, interstate and school-to-school transition help, scholarship and grant opportunities, workshops and more, visit MCEE at www.macdillfss.com/school-liaison-officer. For ways to ‘purple up’ and celebrate military children, visit www.dodea.edu and www.defense.gov/spotlights/month-of-the-military-child.

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