Montgomery Catholic Teachers Learn to Help Military Children Find Their “Spark”

Montgomery Catholic Teachers Learn to Help Military Children Find Their "Spark" 1
This summer, the faculty of Montgomery Catholic had an opportunity to learn about the unique challenges that children of military members sometimes face and how to motivate and inspire students by engaging their interests and being sensitive to their stressors. Shirley Raby and Teresa Hearn of the Military Child Education Coalition conducted a seminar entitled “Helping Military Children Discover Their S.P.A.R.C.”, with S.P.AR.C. being an acronym for Strength, Potential, Aspirations, Resourcefulness, and Confidence. This highly interactive all-day seminar highlighted the different types of stressors that can affect the lives of military families and how educators can identify and react to them. Guided by the books Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck and Sparksby Dr. Peter L. Benson, the faculty learned the importance of adopting a growth mindset, knowing whether a child is just surviving or if she is thriving, and how to nurture “Sparks”—passions and interests children have that give their lives meaning and purpose.
Montgomery Catholic Teachers Learn to Help Military Children Find Their "Spark" 2 “My hope is that students at Montgomery Catholic will continue to thrive, experience smooth  My compassion for these families and their sometimes difficult circumstances gives me a lot of insight into the military life experience.”

transitions, and find what brings them true joy in life, besides of course Jesus,” said Raby, who is a retired educator from Texas and has taught this course all over the world. “Although I am not from a military family myself nor did I have much experience with military families when I was teaching, I have discovered that my “spark” is helping these children to succeed.

Montgomery Catholic Teachers Learn to Help Military Children Find Their "Spark" 3Montgomery Catholic has been proud to serve the families of our locally-stationed military members. The seminar hit close to home for the faculty and staff in attendance, many of whom were either children or spouses of military members or had been in the armed forces themselves.
“I have experienced first-hand what it is like to have a spark recognized and nurtured by caring teachers,” said Julie Lopez, Montgomery Catholic Director of Admissions. “I changed schools often because my dad was in the Air Force, so I was reluctant to participate whenever I entered a new school. I ended up landing the lead role in a school play simply because a kind teacher encouraged me to audition, even though nobody knew who I was.”
Founded in 1998, MCEC’s mission is to ensure inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, transition, deployments and family separation. They serve communities all over the world, wherever American military families are stationed. They have been recognized for both their service to the military family community for also for creating
Montgomery Catholic is the first school in the River Region to host this professional development.

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