SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii, Sept. 15, 2011 -- The School Age Center here recently hosted a presentation about the Student Online Achievement Resource, or SOAR, Program.

SOAR is a free online program that helps parents play an active role in their children's education.
SOAR was designed for military families worldwide and for classmates of military family members in schools serving military installations.

Currently, SOAR has more than 60,000 users.

"Kids in military families are always moving to different schools," said Barbara Adams, director, Resources for the Military Impacted Schools Association. "Most kids are left on their own to fill in the gaps and catch up. SOAR helps them cope with different curriculum."

Adams was guest speaker at the event.

To help make the transition from one school system to another easier, SOAR maintains assessments aligned to different state standards. For example, a student entering the Hawaii school system can go to the SOAR website and take a 30-question assessment based on Hawaii educational standards in math and language arts.

After completing an assessment, SOAR will then direct the student to special tutorials to help him or her improve specific skills as needed.

SOAR also offers tips for parents who want to help their children in their studies.

Currently, SOAR is primarily targeting students in second grade through high school. However, Adams said "preschool programs are being added."

In addition, the SOAR website features ACT and SAT prep courses provided by Princeton Review. While these courses can normally cost several hundred dollars, they are free to SOAR users.

Plus, the SOAR Program is easy to use.

"Parents just need to go to the website and register their children," Adams said. "It takes about 45 seconds."

One of the biggest proponents for SOAR, locally, is Rep. Mark Takai, who is a school liaison for the Hawaii Army National Guard, as well as a member himself.

"The military is so important and does so much for us," Takai said. "As a legislator, one of my main areas of focus is on education for military families."

Takai sees SOAR as a way to make things easier for kids who find themselves constantly moving.

"Whether it is moving next door or across the globe, the transition can be stressful," Takai explained. "With SOAR, it doesn't have to be." 

Sign up for SOAR at www.SoarAtHome.com.

Page last updated Thu September 15th, 2011 at 00:00