SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Leaders from the Army and the Hawaii State Department of Education met at the Nehelani, here, May 11, to reinforce the bond between the Army and its partner schools and to discuss ways the Army and the DOE could improve those schools.

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii partners with 52 public schools in Hawaii. The majority of those (44) are on Oahu; eight are on the Big Island.

Representatives from Oahu's Army-partnered schools (which include Aiea, Campbell, Kapolei, Leilehua, Mililani, Moanalua, Radford and Waialua schools) offered overviews that highlighted their various successes and support needs.

Successes included these:
•Mililani High School won the 2014 State Football Championships.
•Moanalua High School's media program received four awards at the 12th annual Student Television Network Competition in California.
•Radford High School student Alexandra Skrocki was honored as the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Award recipient.
•Wahiawa Middle School won the spelling bee for Oahu's central school district.

Before wrapping up the meeting, Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, senior commander of U.S. Army-Hawaii, pledged to take action on three points:

•Parental involvement. "I'm going to make sure we're communicating the message about (the importance of) the parental involvement," Flynn said. "We have a captive audience because we issue orders in the military. I can't order them to be good parents, but I can issue guidance to commanders that parents should be free to go to (parent-teacher meetings)."
He added that he understood Soldiers were sometimes unable to attend such meetings because of deployments, but that he would communicate that they should be allowed to attend the meetings if their schedules could allow it.

•Federal Impact Surveys. Flynn said he wanted to encourage Army parents to turn in their schools' Federal Impact Surveys. These surveys, which should be filled out by parents, help to determine the amount of federal aid the Hawaii DOE receives to offset lost tax revenues (income, sales, property tax) due to a federal presence, and to make up for the incurred costs of providing educational services to federally connected students.

Some parents are reluctant to fill out these surveys because they do not know the exact street address of their place of work on an Army installation, and/or they don't want to divulge the private information requested on the survey.

Flynn said he would task his team to start an informational campaign to overcome these challenges and boost the number of Army parents who fill out and turn in the Federal Impact Surveys because "each (survey) equals cash."

•Reputation. Flynn said he would have the USAG-Hawaii command and its team work with school liaison officers to create a brochure that highlights the positive aspects of sending children to Army-partnered public schools.

Last year, he said, he had this information communicated to the NCO Academy and Command General Staff College, but he wants the next outreach effort to be something "better and more creative" because there are hundreds of new families coming to USARHAW in the past week alone and the majority of them have school-age children.