College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Program supporting military-connected children is receiving updates to stay up to date with research

January 16, 2024

Since April 2011, “Operation Educate the Educators” has been serving the Commonwealth of Virginia’s military-connected students and their families. By creating training modules for educators and pre-service teachers, the program helps prepare educators to understand the military community’s unique needs and provides appropriate support to students.

A military family sitting together outside smiling

Research confirms that children of military families often exhibit increased levels of social-emotional and behavioral problems. Some children may also have difficulty with academic performance in school, mostly due to life-stressors attributable to a parent’s military service. The training modules produced by Operation Educate the Educators help in identifying and responding to these issues, which reduces these risks for military-connected children.

Navy Mutual Logo

But as research indicated the need for change, the Operation Educate the Educators program had to be updated. Thanks to generous supporters such as Navy Mutual, along with other private donors, the program is being enhanced to better meet the needs of military-connected students.

Associate Professor Jennifer Drake Patrick, creator of the Operation Educate the Educators program, explains, “We greatly appreciate the support for our Educate the Educators program. This allows us to revise and strengthen our Educate the Educators training that prepares our pre-service teachers at George Mason University and K-12 schools across Virginia who are seeking their Purple Star designation to be ready to meet the needs of military-connected children in school settings. We know our service members care deeply about the well-being of their families, and we want to ensure our educators understand the military culture and are aware of effective strategies and resources to support military-connected children and their families.”

The revised training modules will greatly impact the lives of military-connected children and their families in Virginia. Operation Educate the Educators at Mason is positioned to have a vast and immediate impact, not just in the region but as a model for other school systems, universities, and communities nationwide.

A special thank you to everyone who supported the Educate the Educators fund and program and especially Navy Mutual who generously served as a lead sponsor!