FORT SILL, Oklahoma (July 20, 2021) – As inbound military families negotiate the process of moving here, Fort Sill school liaison officer Augelica Fleming stands ready to inform them about education options in Oklahoma.
“If I can touch every new family that is arriving here, I can definitely help them get their children’s educational journey off to a great start,” she said.
Because the coming school year may differ from those before, due in part to the pandemic, Fleming is also available to answer questions or provide guidance to other military families residing on- and off-post.
The following provides answers to the most frequently asked questions and issues that she is asked.
What is your role?
I work with military families and schools in the Fort Sill area, which includes Comanche, Cotton, and Stephens counties.
I’m an advocate on behalf of military families, and support them as they seek the best educational opportunities for their children. This includes public, private, homeschool, and charter school options.
I actively engage school superintendents, principals and school boards through periodic meetings to ensure I am up-to-date on any issue that might affect military families. I also monitor legislative issues that affect school systems statewide.
I also advise the garrison commander of any educational issues that might impact military families.
How should new families approach this coming school year?
Families may contact me immediately about their concerns and questions, whether they have arrived or are just beginning their move. I can provide awareness of area school options for them to consider. I also recommend they follow the school’s website and social media platforms where they intend to register their children.
Second, they should look for housing in their preferred school district.
Third, families should begin the school enrollment process immediately and contact the post Exceptional Family Member Program office to obtain resources if needed.
Finally, families should decide whether their children will attend school virtually or in the classroom. Fleming said some school districts will offer virtual and traditional face-to-face options. Also some districts have virtual school days built into their school year calendars, and will shift to virtual days if needed. Either way, she is available for those parents seeking more information on this matter.
What are my public school options?
For families living on post, the designated Lawton Public Schools (LPS) are Freedom Elementary School (it is not Department of Defense related), Central Middle School, and Lawton Senior High School.
Families off-post can choose from many options with Lawton, Cache, and Elgin offering the biggest school districts. There are also several smaller districts that Fleming can provide information on.
Fleming added a recently passed bill in Oklahoma allows parents to register their children for school in any school district provided the district can accommodate extra students. Taking this a step further though, districts are required to accept children of military families. The only requirement to this is families must provide transportation to and from the school for their children.
Are there any unique educational requirements for Oklahoma schools?
Families should familiarize themselves with the Military Interstate Compact, which ensures military high school students’ credits transfer between all 50 states so students can graduate on time.
For example, if a military high school student has completed a Colorado state history course, and their sponsor moves to Fort Sill, the student would not be required to take an Oklahoma state history course.
The compact also allows military children to try out for activities, such as sports, dance, cheerleading, if they transferred to the school after the tryout deadline.
Does Oklahoma require children to attend pre-kindergarten? Kindergarten?
The state does not require children to attend Pre-K. Because it is not an Oklahoma requirement there are limited Pre-K spaces at schools.
Oklahoma children are required to attend kindergarten. The child must turn age 5 on or before Sept. 1 of the school year.
What are the best schools?
Fleming said her position does not allow her to provide an opinion on schools. She works with families to find out what they want for their children.
For example, parents may want a school that offers a choice of advanced placement courses, and so she can advise them which schools have the most AP offerings.
Generally, the larger schools offer more curriculum and extracurricular options, while smaller schools may be able to provide more personal attention to the student and family.
How do I contact you?
I work at the Welcome Center, Bldg. 4700 Mow Way Road, but the best way to contact me is through email at email@example.com. My office number is 580-442-2130.