Army School Support Services provides a wide range services through the School Liaison Program to schools as well as military-connected Families and students. Every installation has a School Liaison Officer (SLO) who implements this program. The SLO facilitates communication, provides professional development, and more.
The SLO is the Garrison Commander’s primary advisor on school-related matters, education initiatives and education-based legislation at the local, state and national level. As the Commander’s representative, the SLO builds partnerships with local schools and facilitates communication between the school, the command, and parents. SLOs are great sources of accurate information, and collaborators for solutions that benefit Army Families.
SLOs serve the local schools in other ways as well. They help school personnel understand the effects of military transitions, including deployment. They can also provide professional development on military culture. This understanding helps educators better support military-connected students.
Your local SLO can assist with accessing applications to Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) grants and provide information and installation support with Impact Aid applications. They also can assist in creating a Youth Sponsorship Program in your school at no cost to you. Lastly, your SLO facilitates Adopt-A-School programs in schools. This program connects service member volunteers to schools for regular and special activities, as requested by schools.
Educator, School Administrator, and Unit FAQs
Q: How do SLOs promote military / community relations?
A:SLOs are garrison commanders’ primary advisors on all K-12 education-related issues and their representatives in the schools. SLOs help facilitate communication between schools and installation leadership, strengthen school/installation partnerships, and provide schools with access to military resources that support military youth.
Q: How do SLOs assist military Families?
A: SLOs connect Families to new communities, provide local school information, assist with credit transfer and school registration, and provide accurate information about the transition process.
SLOs also support military Families during deployment by providing resources and access to information and training. They help Families communicate with schools about the deployment process, in addition to deployment-related absenteeism and Family challenges.
The SLO is the primary point of contact on the installation for the youth sponsorship program, and can facilitate youth sponsorship assignment for incoming students, too.
Q" What military resources are available to schools?
A: SLOs inform local schools of upcoming Department of Defense Education grants, and facilitate Partnership in Education initiatives to increase parent participation, leadership activities, and overall installation and community involvement in the school. They can also oversee Adopt-A-School programs, which benefit schools, units and students.
Q: Can SLOs assist with local education issues?
A: While SLOs cannot change local, state or national policy, they help make sure stakeholders and decision makers hear the voice of military Families. They also help parents and schools find solutions to challenges associated with military transition.
Q: How can SLOs help with credit transfer and registration issues?
A: SLOs can train school staff on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to ensure the school is aware of state legislation to support the compact.
SLOs function as liaisons between parents and receiving and losing schools to ease the transition process and ensure credit transfer and registration happens on-time and according to local, state and national legislation. They help communicate school requirements to Families, and help make sure they have the right documents before meeting with the school.
Q: When should a school contact a SLO?
A: The school should have continuous contact with the SLO. Invite your SLO to start-of-school-year events, Parent-Teacher Advisory meetings, open houses, staff development days and other events. Please give your SLO the best opportunity to support youth, staff and parents.
Q: What training do SLOs provide?
A: The SLO can provide a variety of workshops on military culture, military transition and deployment for both school staff and parents. They also conduct training on resilience by leveraging the Army’s Ready and Resilient program, and train school personnel on how to establish a Youth Sponsorship program in the school.
Q: What is Youth Sponsorship?
A: The Youth Sponsorship program connects transitioning military children to their new communities and schools before, during and after a move. The program gives new students information, a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make friends.
The program operates at Army youth centers and in schools by assigning a youth sponsor, who provides information, answers questions, and orients the new student to the campus and school environment.
The program also benefits youth sponsors, who build valuable leadership and character skills, practice public speaking, and gain a sense of belonging in the community. The program is youth-run and adult-facilitated, and gives students a say in how their communities create a welcoming environment for all new members.
Q: What Partnership in Education initiatives can SLOs assist with?
A: Army Partnership in Education (PIE) initiatives encompass a range of activities to address the educational needs of military children and youth, and to strengthen relationships between schools, installations and communities.
The SLO is the primary conduit in building relationships that can be leveraged to support initiatives. Relationships should include installation and unit personnel, school personnel and the civilian community. Initiatives should focus on: academic enhancement, workforce preparation, life skills and well-being, citizenship and leadership, school transitions, Family and community involvement, and outreach services.
Q: What is the Adopt-A-School Program?
A: With Adopt-A-School, Soldiers get personally involved in schools to nurture the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth of all children. The program builds partnerships between Army units and local schools to improve education quality and enhance community relations. Schools request a unit to adopt them through their SLO, who helps match installation units to schools.
Q: Can SLOs help with parent/school conflict?
A: Although they aren’t mediators or advocates for individual Families, SLOs facilitate two-way communication between schools and parents.
Q: Can SLOs assist with disruptive behavior?
A: SLOs aren’t able to contact parents or intervene with disruptive behavior, but they help in other ways. The SLO can train staff on specific risk factors associated with the military lifestyle, and can facilitate communication between the school and parents to help them better understand disruptive behavior and how to address it.
SLOs can help eligible schools obtain a Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC), which can let military children address the reasons for their disruptive behavior. If a school can’t obtain an MFLC, the SLO can connect the Family to an MFLC on the installation.