Here are the Archived entries for 8 2017

What to tell your children’s teachers Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017
By Meg Flanagan
Special to GUIDON

You’ve got the basics down pat.

The backpacks are good to go; new sneakers are ready for running; and the clothes still have the fresh-from-the-store smell.

By now, you might have even received your child’s class schedule or homeroom assignment.

Even if your child has their address and your phone number memorized, there are still a few things to consider.

Where you came from

If you just PCSed into the area, let the teacher know where you lived most recently.

Even though Common Core is out there and many states use it, not every state follows identical standards. Different states teach different topics at different times of the year or in different grades.

Those first few weeks are mainly for review and reteaching. Sharing your last duty station location will allow this year’s teacher to cross-check standards and try to cover any knowledge gaps.

Contact Info
Share it all. Pass on every phone number where you or your spouse could possibly be reached.

Make sure the teacher has your most checked email addresses, too.

Have a friend to use as an emergency contact? You’ll want to write that down.

Yes, all of this is probably on file in the office, but sharing it with the teacher helps them to keep you in the loop or contact you fast.

IEP or 504 Plan
Teachers are in charge of making sure these education plans are followed exactly as written.

At Meet the Teacher Day, pass along a copy of your child’s IEP or 504 Plan. The teacher will probably already have a copy, but it never hurts to overshare this information.

Highlight the copy you are sharing to let the teacher know important items.

You could also include a letter from a previous teacher and the most recent progress report from the last school.

Allergies or medical concerns
Allergies, especially to food, are super common in classrooms today. Almost every grade, if not every class, has at least one child with an allergy.

If your child has an allergy, make sure the teacher knows ASAP.

Explain the specific allergens, how reactions are triggered, the symptoms and the treatment. If you have a medical plan in place, file it with the nurse and share it with your teacher.

Tips or tricks
Tell the teacher everything that will help them on day one.

If your child wears glasses or hearing aids, let the teacher know.

Does your kiddo work better when seated close to the board or away from a particular friend? Let the teacher know.

Sharing this information is super important and can start the year off on the right foot.

Deployments or TDY
Deployments and long separations can trigger a whole lot of changes for children.

Missing a parent and possibly shouldering more responsibility at home can cause a whole lot of stress.

Stress can cause grades to plummet or increase negative behaviors.

If teachers are on the lookout for these types of changes, you can all work together to help your child stay on track.

Family situations
Families change all the time, and every Family has a different dynamic.

Just like deployments or separations, changes in Family life can cause stress.

Let the teacher know, within reason, about adding new children to the home, divorce/separations, step-parents, step-siblings or leaving military life.

The teacher will be able to watch for unusual behaviors or changes in academic success.

Best way to share
Meet the Teacher or the first day is not the time to get into the “nitty gritty.” Your teacher is trying to get face time with 20 or more parents and students. Your interactions will be very fast.

Instead, pass on the most important info in a document or a folder. Label everything with your child’s name, then hand it over.

If you already have the teacher’s email, send it all electronically.

One thing you should do
When you hand over the folder, send the email or speak face-to-face, ask for a meeting within the next two to four weeks.

The meeting is just a simple check-in. You’ll ask how your child is doing; the teacher will let you know how they are settling in, and everyone will walk away feeling a little bit better.

The idea of this meeting is to start that team-building process so that you can all help your child this school year.

(Editor’s note: Flanagan is a military spouse and blogger for
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 August 2017 )
Poet adds commentary to service Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017
Capt. Edward McHenry Jr. performs one of his poems about his children. Photo by Angi Betran, Visual Information Center
By Valerie Collins
GUIDON volunteer

Capt. Edward McHenry Jr. shaped his life experiences into a hobby.

McHenry is a slam poet, and as he explains, slam poetry is the competitive form of spoken-word poetry.

“Spoken word is, more or less, an art form where poems are performed vocally,” McHenry said.

McHenry got his start in 1988, around the age of 10, when the loss of his Family cat inspired a poem. He used pen and paper as an outlet to express his pain.

This pattern continued into middle school where, he said, he got into his first fight at school. Instead of sending him to the principal, his teacher took him aside and told him to write about it.

McHenry recalls the poem being dark and angry, but afterwards his teacher showed him the lesson she wanted him to take away.

“She said ‘you did everything on paper and no one got hurt,’” McHenry recalled.

He said it wasn’t until years later he realized the importance of what she was trying to teach him. He credits his teachers for recognizing his gift and encouraging him to explore it. As McHenry puts it, they set the foundation for his own style of poetry by assigning him extra assignments outside of the regular homework load.

McHenry would perform his poetry for anyone who would listen. He said instead of singing at talent contests like everyone else, he performed poetry. Unknown to McHenry, his words were being heard by nationally ranked spoken-word poets.

It wasn’t long before McHenry decided to compete and was eventually ranked on the national stage, as well.

“My Family valued education,” McHenry said.

His father was a rocket scientist who saw life on a molecular level. McHenry jokes about the struggles of trying to have a simple conversation with his dad. His dad would even make his friends look up the meaning of words they did not know in the dictionary.

McHenry met his wife, Jennifer, 16 years ago, while attending college. He impressed her with a poem. Speaking about her and their five children brings a light to his eyes.

Jennifer recalls the day they met, calling him confident.

“I knew I had something good, so I snagged it,” she said. “He is everything I could ever imagine and more.”

McHenry joined the Army in 2006 as an enlisted Soldier with full support from his Family.

“You can talk about patriotism; you can write about patriotism, but living it is a totally different thing,” McHenry said.

In his current assignment, McHenry serves as operations officer with the Directorate of Emergency Services. Before DES, he was the company commander for Company E, 701st Military Police Battalion.

Staff Sgt. Nathan Essig who worked under McHenry for a year, described him as “an excellent leader.”

Essig added he was surprised by McHenry’s approach to the Soldiers in Co. E.

“He truly knew every individual in that company, and he truly cared,” Essig said. “Almost every day, he would walk up to the drill sergeants and tell them how much he appreciates them.”

In an effort to change the conversation about sexual assault among the Soldiers at the 701st MP Bn., McHenry started a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention initiative. As part of this initiative, McHenry called on some connections he knew through his slam poetry to perform for his company about their own experiences with sexual assault.

McHenry points out that no one knows the true impacts unless they experience it, and hearing these stories allows Soldiers to experience some of it through someone else.

The other part of this initiative came when McHenry covered a bare wall with teal handprints, which are signed by Soldiers who have taken a pledge to end sexual assault and harassment.

Essig said this SHARP initiative brought about by McHenry is, “more than a PowerPoint class.”

“Hearing it from someone who has been through it makes you think,” Essig said.

Essig said McHenry’s leadership is missed throughout the 701st MP Bn. and the changes he made to better the unit will not be forgotten.

“I would encourage Soldiers to find their outlet, a way to reconnect with their humility, whether it be fishing or spending time at the range,” McHenry said.

Poetry is his own outlet, and McHenry is still competing. He calls himself determined, confident and hard working and dedicates his words to those who can feel them.

“I have a unique gift. I can capture what people are feeling or thinking and put it in a way they can’t get out of themselves,” McHenry said.

He said there is a vulnerability to putting himself out there, but he knows that his poetry has touched those who need it most.

He said, “I try to remember why I wrote (the poem) and the emotional connection I had when I wrote it.”

McHenry said he takes pride in sharing his story and plans to keep drawing from his experiences and working to better his craft.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 August 2017 )
Post photographer offers eclipse tips Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017
By Tiffany Wood
Public Affairs director

The total solar eclipse of the sun craze has hit Missouri, and many people across the state are looking for ways to take part in, and document, what many are calling a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

On Aug. 21, the total solar eclipse will begin its sweep through Missouri from the northwest corner of the state to Cape Girardeau. Depending on where you are in the state, the eclipse will begin between 11:30 a.m. and noon and continue until between 2:30 and 3 p.m., according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ website.
Courtesy photo

It will be the first time in a 148 years a total solar eclipse has happened in Missouri, and many people across the state will be trying to capture the perfect image, said Fort Leonard Wood’s lead photographer, Mike Curtis.

“It’s predicted that this total solar eclipse will be the most photographed event in history,” said Curtis, who has been a professional photographer at Fort Leonard Wood for 34 years.

For those looking to capture the “best” photos of this rare event, the Missouri DNR’s website provides a state map that highlights the most “intense viewing areas” for the total eclipse, Curtis said.

Although Fort Leonard Wood is not in the direct path of the total eclipse, the installation, as well as “parts of Missouri farthest from the path, will experience a partial eclipse in which over 92 percent of the sun is covered,” the site stated. The DNR’s map shows the closest location to Fort Leonard Wood where people can view the total eclipse will be in Cuba, Missouri, which is about 50 miles east on I-44.

Both the total and partial will make for good photos but only if you have the right tools and settings, said Curtis, who shared some advice on photographing the eclipse.
Mike Curtis, lead photographer. Courtesy photo

First, Curtis said, everyone taking pictures or videos of the eclipse should wear safety glasses.

“Never look at the sun without safe solar glasses,” he said.

In addition to a good, safe pair of solar glasses, Curtis recommends using a tripod.

“If you are able to mount your device on a tripod that would be ideal due to the duration of the eclipse, which is approximately two hours,” he said. “You don’t want to stand for 30 minutes or longer holding up your device.”

For phone enthusiasts or those using point-and-shoot cameras to capture the eclipse, Curtis recommends taking video versus pictures.

“A lot of people are going to try take pictures with their smart phones or a point-and-shoot camera and those won’t make good pictures,” Curtis said. Those devices, however, will take a good video of the eclipse, he added.

“A picture on a smart phone or a point-and-shoot camera will only show a little dot but a video will show how the eclipse goes from light to dark to light again,” he said.

When it comes to digital cameras, Curtis suggests using a solar filter since cameras are very sensitive to the sun.

 “If you only want to capture the full-frame sun, you will need a solar filter for your camera, which can be purchased online,” he said. “This filter will protect your camera from the intense light of the sun.”

In addition, Curtis recommends the digital camera’s lens be 200 mm to 500 mm, aperture priority set between F11 and F16, and ISO should be 200.

While the full-sun picture of the eclipse will be the most sought after, Curtis offers a bit of advice for those wanting to dabble in the less popular, but just as visually compelling, landscape solar eclipse photography.

“For landscape, you will not need a filter,” he said. “I recommend the focal length be 70 to 200 mm, aperture priority be between F11 and F16 and if your camera has auto bracketing, use that.”

As a reminder to all photographers that day, Curtis said to take extra SD cards, charge all batteries and use the camera’s live view instead of the eye piece for safety reasons.

“And if you want to capture an image that is worthy of a wall print, take several pictures,” he said.

(Editor's note: Look in the Aug. 24 issue of the GUIDON for Curtis’s favorite photo from the eclipse.)
Last Updated ( Monday, 21 August 2017 )
Drill sergeants, staff prepare for training Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017
Story and photo by Stephen Standifird
Managing editor
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Preparation at Fort Leonard Wood for a new company of trainees includes everything from cleaning the barracks to getting all required paperwork in order before the new Soldiers arrive to train at the unit.

For the newest Basic Combat Training battalion here, 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, there are a few additional preparations the reserve drill sergeants and staff need to conduct before pickup next week.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Ehret, senior drill sergeant for Company C., with the help of the battalion operations staff, coordinated time for 28 drill sergeants and 10 battalion staff members to familiarize themselves with the various training areas at Fort Leonard Wood, including the confidence course Friday.
Staff Sgt. Tamara Burns, drill sergeant with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, makes her way down the slide- for-life obstacle on the confidence course. Burns, and 27 other drill sergeants, ran the course in preparation to pick up trainees.

“As Reserve drill sergeants, we don’t come out that often in order to do these obstacles,” Ehret said.  

Staff Sgt. Tamara Burns, a Co. B drill sergeant, agreed.

“We want to be ‘Dress Right Dress’ as a company,” she said. “It’s a great time for us to iron out everything before we get the privates. Having this time is really going to set us up for success.”

The 2nd Bn., 48th Inf. is unique in that all drill sergeants and staff are Reserve-component Soldiers.

The battalion, made up of Soldiers from the 95th Division and 108th Training Command in the Reserve component, was activated to help the post meet its increase of 4,500 Soldiers in fiscal year 2017.

Burns and Ehret added there is an additional purpose to getting out as a unit to experience the confidence course: “Team bonding within the company,” Burns said. “(It) builds camaraderie as we are getting together as a team.”

“Part of this is so we can grow as a team,” Ehret added.

The drill sergeants and staff in the battalion came to Fort Leonard Wood from across the country, Ehret said, and each one has a different level of experience they are bringing to the battalion.

Burns, who has two years as a drill sergeant, said the longest she was at BCT training Soldiers was seven weeks. Her motivation to volunteer for this opportunity was to return to where it all started for her, 17 years ago.

“I haven’t been back here since basic. I jumped on the chance to come here,” she said. “I base my career on my foundation. And for me, Fort Leonard Wood was a great foundation. I want to give that to privates; I want to give them the first taste of the military. It all starts with a great foundation, and Fort Leonard Wood gives that great foundation.”

Between setting up the barracks, getting paperwork squared away and getting the refresher classes on the training areas, drill sergeants with Co.’s B and C are ready to start training Soldiers, Ehret said.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 August 2017 )
Increase awareness as school busses, students hit the roads Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017
By Anita Dietz
Special to GUIDON

Summer vacation is almost over, and drivers will have to plan their daily commute with school bus safety in mind.

If you have students in your household, warn your children of the many hazards associated with simply walking to the bus stop, waiting at the bus stop and riding the bus to and from school.

Look over these tips to help keep our children safe on Missouri roadways this school year.

— Always be extra cautious at crosswalks.

— Watch for children walking along roadways.

— Realize that children at bus stops may suddenly dart into the roadway. When you see children near the road, slow down and expect the unexpected.

— If you see a group of children at the bus stop, know that others may be near-by and may be running late.

— Learn the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists  about stopping.

— When driving your children to school, deliver and pick them up in the drop off/pick up lane.

— If walking to the bus stop, try to link up with others so you can walk to the bus stop together.

— Have a planned, direct route that crosses the fewest streets possible.

— Remember to stop at the edge of the road and look left, right, then look left again before crossing.

— At intersections, look over your shoulder for turning vehicles.

— Arrive early at the bus stop.

— Never go with a stranger for any reason.

— Always stay seated on the bus and do not put heads or arms outside the bus windows.

— When getting off of the bus, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, exit using the handrail to avoid falls and cross the street at least 10 feet (or 10 giant steps) in front of the bus.

— If you walk or bike to school, obey all traffic signals, signs and traffic officers.

— Parents, periodically ask your child to recite your address, an emergency phone number, and when to call 911.

Advance planning and periodic reminders for both drivers and students on back-to-school activities can help to keep children safe.

Everyone’s goal is a safe and happy school season.

(Editor’s note: Dietz is a safety specialist with the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Safety Office.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 August 2017 )
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