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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Department of Defense Education Activity-Pacific officials said a recently launched Web site will provide crucial assistance for students worldwide who will be following their military parents to a new duty assignment.

The DODEA’s new "Students at the Center" provides one-stop shopping for information on "policies, procedures, and best practices that are critical to supporting the needs of military families’ education," according to a news release Tuesday.

Steve Bloom, deputy director for DODEA-Pacific, lauded the effort to provide a single repository of information for the DODEA schools, military leadership and, most importantly, the civilian school districts in the States.

"I think it’s a giant step in the direction of meeting that responsibility," he said during a phone interview Wednesday.

According to a September 2009 Defense Department report to Congress, "most military children will matriculate through approximately eight different school systems from kindergarten to 12th grade."

Peggy Bullion, deputy superintendent for instruction at DODEA-Pacific, said Wednesday that students moving into the civilian schools have had problems with issues as basic as the way the classes are scheduled, to whether they have the same graduation requirements.

There are "social and emotional challenges," too, Bullion said.

Information in the online center, found at , is broken down into three main categories: military families, military leadership and school leadership.

Bloom said the category for school leaders is important for the schools accepting the military community students.

He pointed to the subcategory labeled Military Families 101, saying it could help civilian educators understand "some of the transition issues that our children face."

The Web site said there are an estimated 1.2 million children of active-duty servicemembers, and most of those children are younger than 11.

The majority of them attend civilian schools, but unlike their peers, they often have to deal with military parents being deployed, wounded or even killed in combat.

"What these children — and their parents — need most from school administrators and teachers is academic and emotional support for the multiple transitions that they face," according to the Web site.

The site also offers information on Defense Department programs to support schools.


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