College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Operation Educate the Educators at George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development

April 20, 2016

CEHD Dean Mark R. Ginsberg with US Secretary of Education John King at the White House Conference, "Joining Forces."

On April 13, 2106, Mark Ginsberg, Dean of George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) participated as an invited speaker in a White House Conference focused on military-connected children and families.

To celebrate the Month of the Military Child, Dr. Jill Biden, second lady of the United States, a lifelong educator who currently teaches at Northern Virginia Community College and a military mom was joined by US Secretary of Education John King and education other leaders at the invited White House event. Five years ago this month, First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden launched the Joining Forces initiative to give all Americans the opportunity to demonstrate their support for those who serve in our military.

The conference, termed “Joining Forces” reviewed the national “Operation Educate the Educators” initiative that has highlighted the work of colleges of education to prepare educators successfully to work with the more than 4 million children of active duty, reserve, national guard and veteran families. Dr. Ginsberg, provided insights on Mason’s experience implementing Operation Educate the Educators. As the Dean of one of the "pioneer" institutions involved with this initiative, he shared Mason’s experiences on preparing educators to work with military-connected children.

Mason’s activities have been coordinated by Dr. Jennifer Drake-Patrick, a faculty member in the CEHD’s graduate program in literacy and herself a military spouse and parent.

Professor Drake- Patrick and Dean Ginsberg collaborated with other Mason colleagues to create the Supporting Our Military–Connected Children in School Settings: Moving them from Risk to Resilience online learning module that is part of the required Human Growth and Development Course, a required element of the college’s educator preparation programs. The online course ensures that graduates of the Graduate School of Education will be well equipped to support military-connected children. The goal is to prepare educators who “serve those who serve” to do so with an understanding of the military experience such that schools are “ready” to meet the needs of these students. CEHD’s work in this area has been undertaken in collaboration with school divisions in the Northern Virginia region and other organizations focused on military personnel and veterans.

George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development joined Operation Educate the Educators in 2011 with a mission to: better prepare educators to meet the needs of military-connected students in the classroom; to share the best research and ideas in the fields of military connected children and education; to raise awareness about what's working and what's not working; and to chart a course forward on what can be accomplished do to support and leverage the unique needs of military and veteran connected children.