Smooth_Transitions by keralaguest


									                              School Support Services

                     School Liaison Office, Fort Lewis, WA 98433
              Norma Melo, Youth Education Support Services Director
                             Child Youth & School Services
                      Rm203, Waller Hall, Bldg. 2140, Liggett Ave
                          Phone: (253)967-7195 DSN: 357-7195
                                  Fax: (253)966-3151
                 Hours: M-F9:30-11:30 1300-16001530Email: school

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           What Is the Function of the Fort Lewis School Liaison Office?
   • Serves as primary advisor to Commander/command staff on matters
     relating to regional public schools and School Liaison Services
   • Informs and assists parents in transitioning military families into the
     regional public and private schools that will serve their child/children
     during their assignment at Ft. Lewis
   • Develops solutions in partnership with local schools that ease barriers to
     successful education transitions for Army school age youth
   • Collaborates with local schools, installation organizations, and community
     organizations to facilitate the educational experience of military children
     and youth

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The links below are Web sites rich with useful educational information for Fort Lewis Soldiers
and their Families.

      (helps to locate and compare schools)
      (locate and compare schools, parent reviews)
      (MCEC provides educational opportunities for military children, professional development)
      (Information and links about home schooling)
      (WA school report cards, demographics, special programs)
      (School & city reports, homes vs. apartments, moving information)
      (Impact aid, legislation, partnerships and programs for military families)
      (Transition information for children/teenagers, starting anew, ideas for maintaining friendships)
      (Information and links about education, relocation, parenting and other military lifestyle issues)
      (School support services, easing school transitions, additional resources for parents)
      (Army School Liaison Officers Directory: CONUS & OCONUS)
      (Resources for finding the right college, entrance exams, financial aid resources, paying for college, applying for
       federal student aid, Pell Grants, Direct and Federal Family Education Loans)
      (Search colleges by location, major, or cost, SAT preparation, planning, applying and paying for college)
      (Links and information about college scholarships, scholarship application forms)

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What If?
Your child came home with a problem at school that made you and your child’s
life miserable and you did not know how to get it resolved or who to talk to?
You’re soon going to permanently change your duty station (PCS) and you want
to avoid the difficulties with schools you have heard other people tell you they
have experienced?
You know nothing about the duty station you’re moving to and you need some
resources and advice?
You want to help your child plan for college, but the school doesn’t seem to be
helping much?
You need help figuring out which school your child will/should attend?
You want your child to attend a school that is not in your residence’s
   The School Liaison Office can help you with these concerns and other school
            related issues. Call our office at 253-967-7195, or Email at

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The checklist below can help facilitate smooth transitions into a new school.

      Contact ACS Relocation Program (SITES) for information about Fort Lewis and surrounding
       communities. Phone: 253-967-3628 DSN: 312-357-3628
      Visit the web page for both the State Department of Education and Local/County District School
       System. If going overseas, visit the DODEA homepage at
      Contact the Housing Office at the gaining installation (Ft Lewis), on-post 253-912-2150 to
       determine the waiting period for quarters, or off-post 253-967-5354. The school your child
       attends is contingent upon your home address. If you will be in temporary billets your child will
       most likely have to change schools when you get a permanent address. Upon arrival at your
       housing appointment, try to get an address if you will be living on-post. You can then enroll your
       child in the school to which he or she will be permanently assigned, but you will be responsible
       for transportation until you actually move into quarters.
      Check the new school’s on-line calendar for beginning and ending dates.
      Familiarize yourself with the process of transferring records, and school eligibility requirements
       for kindergarten and first grade to facilitate subsequent placement of the students.
      If you have a child of high school age, review information on the gaining State’s graduation
       requirements. Be familiar with the losing and gaining school’s grading system and weighted
       grades. This may affect your child’s class standing and/or grade point average (GPA).
      Give the losing school an adequate notice of withdrawal (two weeks).
      Hand carry all recommended school records, transcripts, and immunizations. DO NOT PUT
      Encourage your child to visit the Military Teen/Military Kids on the Move Web site at
      Contact the installation School Liaison Officers and school counselors for any assistance
       necessary. They can provide you with many resources.

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        Here are some tips for easing your child’s stress over the new school.
Tip #1 Get familiar with the school before you begin. Give your children as many details as possible
about the new school and community to prepare them for what to expect.

Tip #2 Visit the new school before your child’s first day. Giving your child this opportunity to familiarize
himself/herself with the school, the grounds, and some of the people who work there will help your
child feel more at ease.

Tip #3 Help your child establish ways to stay in touch with old friends. Some of the anxiety about
changing schools has to do with the uncertainty of not knowing if they will keep in touch. Another
concern is meeting new friends. Staying involved with sports and extracurricular activities can help to
foster new relationships.

Tip #4 Encourage your children to speak with their teachers. Getting to know teachers and developing a
rapport early on can make it easier to ask for help. For younger children, make it a point to meet the
teacher personally, after all, your child will be spending a lot of time with this person over the next nine
months. For middle school or high school-aged youths, suggest that they speak individually to their
teachers at least once a week. Thus, allowing them to discuss upcoming projects, specific lessons, or any
areas of difficulty or concern.

Tip #5 Talk to children about their experiences. Encouraging your children to express themselves, talk
about their lives, and vent frustrations about their academic learning environments can be very helpful.
Ask questions that foster expression, such as; “What was the highlight of your day?” “What are you
working on in math/social studies/history…this week?” “What happened on the playground today?”

Tip #6 Encourage your children to join clubs, activities, sports, or girl/boy scouts. Participating in extra-
curricular activities is a great way to start relationships that can last a lifetime.

Tip #7 If school work is giving your child difficulties, talk to teachers immediately. Early intervention can
prevent students from becoming too overwhelmed. Talk with teachers through email or phone.
Consistent communication lets teachers know that you are involved and available. Teachers will be
more apt to keep you informed, give suggestions as to how work can be improved and how you can
assist your child.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What primary, middle, and secondary schools do children/youth living on post

A: Clover Park School District operates the on-post elementary schools. These
schools are: Beachwood, Clarkmoor, Evergreen, Greenwood, and Hillside. All
Middle School and High School students are bused to attend Clover Park School
District schools in Lakewood: Mann Middle School, Woodbrook Middle School,
and Lakes High School. Which of these schools your child will attend depends on
your on-post housing address.

Q: What primary, middle, and secondary schools do children/youth living off post

A: Which off-post schools your child or children will attend
depends on where you choose to live. The Fort Lewis community is surrounded
and serviced by up to 20 different school districts. The school districts most
frequently serving Ft. Lewis families are:

      Clover Park School District-

   Serves Lakewood, Tillicum, Ft. Lewis, and McChord AFB (metropolitan)

      Steilacoom School District

   Serves Steilacoom (rural)

      North Thurston School District

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   Serves Lacey and Nisqually area (metropolitan & rural)

      Puyallup School District-

   Serves Puyallup (metropolitan & rural)

      Olympia School District-

    Serves Olympia (metropolitan)

      Bethel School District-

   Serves Spanaway, Graham, Parkland, and Roy (metropolitan &rural)

      Tumwater School District-

   Serves Tumwater (metropolitan)

      Franklin Pierce School District-

   Serves part of Tacoma and Parkland (metropolitan)

      Yelm School District-

   Serves Yelm and McKenna (rural)

      University Place School District-

   Serves University Place (metropolitan)

      Tacoma School District-

   Serves Tacoma (metropolitan)

      Peninsula School District-

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    Serves Peninsula, Gig Harbor, and parts of Tacoma (metropolitan & rural)

       Rainier School District-

    Serves Rainier (rural)

       Fife School District-

    Serves Fife and Milton (metropolitan)

       Auburn School District

    Serves Auburn, Algona, Pacific, Lake Tapps (metropolitan & rural)

       Federal Way School District-

    Serves Federal Way (metropolitan)

       Tenino School District

    Serves Tenino (rural)

Most of these locations are about a 20 minute drive from Ft. Lewis depending upon traffic. Before deciding on a
residence take the following into consideration:

        *The nature of your lifestyle and your children’s interests.
        *The cost of housing decreases as you get further from metropolitan areas.
        * Daily commuting time and distance from work.
        *Consider what you want from the school your children will attend, i.e., availability of preschools,
        kindergarten, size of the school and class sizes, availability of before/after school care, and special needs

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        Frequently Asked Questions Continued
Q: How old must a child be to start school?
A: Children must be age 5 by August 31 to attend kindergarten. (Exception is
made if the child has documented attendance at an accredited kindergarten
program for 6 weeks or more, but did not meet the age cutoff.) It is important to
note that kindergarten is not mandatory in the State of Washington and few
districts have full day kindergarten. Kindergarten will usually be a half day or less,
commonly 2 ½hours. (Bethel School District and Tacoma School District have full
day kindergarten in some of their schools.) Children must be age 6 by August 31
to attend first grade. (Exception is made if the child has documented successful
completion of a kindergarten program.)

Q: When is the first day of school?
A: The first day of school differs with each district. Clover Park Schools start on
September 9th, 2009. Other School Districts will begin during the first or second
week of September. Check individual district Web site calendars for specific dates.

Q: What is the quality of the schools on and off post?
A: Generally the schools are good, though individual classrooms vary- what one
parent might consider excellent, another parent might find unsatisfactory and
vice versa. The quality of your child’s education continues to depend greatly on
your involvement and advocacy on behalf of their education. See the Web site for comparisons to the National Average and a wide range
of information on Washington schools.

Q: How do students perform on standardized tests?
A: An excellent Web site to view individual school’s Washington Assessment of
Student Learning (WASL standardized test) scores is Also included on this site are demographics on
the school’s population of students and teachers.

Q: Are the schools safe?
A: Gangs, violence and drugs are a fact of life in our society; however, our school
districts are vigilant in addressing individual problems as they arise. All of the
schools are fundamentally safe. There is a zero tolerance policy for drugs,
violence, and gangs; however, isolated incidents can occur no matter where a

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child goes to school. Local schools, law enforcement and the School Liaison Office
work together as a proactive body to watch for signs of potential problems. We
can all be proactive and help keep our schools and children safe by keeping the
following things in mind:

    Gangs thrive on ignorance and apathy. Keeping them out of a community
     takes cooperation and a willingness to say, "This will not happen here."
    Community Awareness...all members of the community should be
     educated and aware of what gang activity looks like, and what to do if they
     witness it. Local law enforcement agencies can provide excellent workshops
     for a variety of groups.
    Community Action...businesses, schools, government, and citizens need to
     pool their energy and resources to meet the community's needs. Working
     together, the problem will seem less intimidating.
    Supervised Activities...give kids a place to go after school. Staff activities
     with responsible adults who work with kids on homework, in games, in arts
     and crafts, etc. Children tend to get into much less trouble when there are
     adults around and watching.
    Resistance Skills Training...teach children the skills they need to resist
     negative influences in their lives. DARE, GREAT, and other structured
     programs are a good step in this direction. Children also need to be taught
     how to make good decisions, and to take responsibility for their behavior.
    Community Service Programs...get kids involved in giving back to the
     community. If they are responsible for cleaning things up, they will be less
     likely to mess them up later. Teach children the value of providing service
     to others, and model your commitment to the neighborhood whenever
     they are present.
    Graffiti Removal with local agencies to develop a consistent
     approach to graffiti. If it is removed promptly, that sends a message of
     "zero tolerance," and gangs will know that they are not welcome.

Q: What are some signs to be aware of or vigilant toward?
A: When a child decides to get involved in a gang, his/her behavior will change.
Parents and other adults will notice these changes. Particular things to look for
    Clothing…all one color, altered in some way with writing or stitching,
      dramatic changes in style.

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    Tattoos or Graffiti…on school notebooks and assignments, on a child's
     hands and arms and clothes, in a child's room. Tattoos may be temporary
     (pen) or permanent, and will usually contain information about the gang.
    Hand signs/Posturing…obvious contortions of the hands (NOT American
     Sign Language!)
    Stance may become aggressive or defensive.
    Changes in attitude…new aggressiveness and defiance, especially towards
     any adult in a position of authority.
    Drop in school performance or attendance…grades may drop; student may
     start skipping classes or entire days of school.
    Unexplained amounts of money…which may be coming from illegal activity.
    Evidence of drug/alcohol use.
    Decrease in family involvement…child will prefer to spend time with his/her
     gang friends.
    Contact with Law Enforcement…Officers will often know the child by name,
     and may begin to contact parents or school concerning the child's gang

Q: Which schools do most of the installation children attend?
A: All children living on post attend Clover Park schools. There are five elementary
schools on post. Four other school districts have large numbers of military
students, they are:
    Tacoma School District
    Bethel School District
    Yelm School District
    North Thurston School District
Additionally, there are roughly fourteen other school districts that some military
students attend.

Q: How far is the walk or bus ride to and from school?
A: This depends on your choice of residence. On post the schools are
neighborhood schools and the walk or bus ride varies between 5-30 minutes. The
ride to the Middle Schools (Woodbrook or Mann) and Lakes High School is
approximately 20-30 minutes from post. Off post the time/distance will greatly
vary. Some of the school districts are placing children outside their neighborhood
schools if they are too crowded or they would be better served in another school.

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It is really important to determine what school your child would attend and if it
meets your needs and expectations before you sign a real estate contract or

Q: What is the school registration procedure?
A: After obtaining your place of residence you will know where you can register
your child. Registration can be done 2-3 weeks prior to the school’s opening, or
anytime during the school year. You will need to bring:
    Current/up-to-date immunization records
    A health physical done within the past year (for sports’ participation; can be
       done at MAMC, Dept. of Pediatrics, 253-968-3066)
    Any and all records and documentation from previous schools, or losing
       school’s address for gaining school to contact
    An IEP (Individualized Education Plan) if there are special needs
    A birth certificate if child has not previously attended school
    Verification of address
Q: What is the cost for school breakfast and lunch?
A: Clover Park Schools’ menu prices for 2009-10 calendar year:

               Breakfast                                 Lunch

           Elementary $1.25                         Elementary $2.20

           Secondary $1.40                          Secondary $2.45

           Reduced         .30                      Reduced      .40

Other School Districts’ menu prices are fairly comparable.

Q: What is the procedure to apply for free and reduced lunch?
A:Inquire at time of enrollment; the school will walk you through the process.

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Q: What kinds of before and after school programs are available on post?

A: There are several options available for before and after school.

School Age Services (SAS)
SCHOOL AGE SERVICES (SAS): Quality before- and after-school programs have been awarded
accreditation by the National School Age Care Alliance. Transportation from all on-post schools
is provided. The CYSS SAS Program is located at the North Fort SAS Complex.

Teen Zone, Bldg 2295 (Corner of 12th and Bitar) Web site
* Social recreation programs and field trips for teenagers
* Partnership programs with 4-H, Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of America
Phone: 967-4441

North Fort Youth Center, Bldg 8485 (on American Lake Ave)
* Social recreation programs and field trips for school-aged children
* Partnership programs with 4-H, Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of America
Phone: 966-7166
Youth Services Advisory Council: 967-1885

You must register with Child, Youth & School Services before participating in any of the
programs offered on post. These programs fill up quickly. Please contact:
                 Child, Youth & School Services Registration and Information
                                  Bldg 2295 (12th & Bitar Ave)
                           Phone: (253)967-2494 Fax: (253)967-5048
                Hours of Operation: Mon-Wed, Fri 0800-1730, Thur: 0800-1830
                   Registration: Mon-Wed, Fri 0830-1600, Thur: 0830-1800
 Appointments needed for registration. Registration process takes approximately 40 minutes.

    For children 5th grade and younger, a complete immunization/shot record must be
        presented when turning in the registration form.
     For the Health Screening Form: Please complete a separate one for each child. Be sure
        to answer all the questions and sections and sign/date at the bottom.
     A current Sports Physical is needed to enroll in any sports activity. (Physical must be
        valid throughout entire season.)
Individual communities off post have a variety of options for before and after school care,
including after-school activities at the school. The YMCA and Boys and Girls’ Club are other
options to explore.

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Q: What are the options for homeschooling in Washington State?

 A: There are a few options for homeschooling your child/children in Washington
State. You can visit the following Web sites to become informed about your
choices and availability.

Q: What is the core curriculum for the district/state?
A: There are four specific Washington State Learning Goals.
These four learning goals provided the foundation for the development of the
Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs), they are:
    Read with comprehension, write with skill, and communicate effectively
      and responsibly in a variety of ways and setting.
    Know and apply the core concepts and principles of mathematics; social,
      physical, and life sciences; civics and history; geography; arts; and health
      and fitness.
    Think analytically, logically, and creatively, and integrate experience and
      knowledge to form reasoned judgments and solve problems.
    Understand the importance of work and how performance, effort, and
      decisions directly affect future career and educational opportunities.
For more information about curriculum and instruction please visit the following
Web site or call the Office of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction 1-360-725-6000

Q: What are the school health requirements for registration?
A: You will need:
    Immunization records with all shots current.
    If involved in sports, a physical completed within the last year. This can be
       done at MAMC, Dept. of Pediatrics, 253-968-3066.
Note: Washington State law requires that every student be immunized before
enrolling in school. A student's parent or guardian must present proof of full
immunization, initial schedule of immunization, or certificate of exemption.
Requirements are listed below. If you have questions regarding these

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immunizations, consult your doctor for more details. Students who have an
immunization exemption cannot attend school if there is an outbreak of any
disease for which Washington requires vaccinations.

Q: What is the procedure to apply for specialized services such as Special
Education, Gifted and Talented Services, or speech therapy?
A: This depends on the dynamics of each situation. Does the child need
assessment or already possess an IEP (Individual Education Program)? Check in
with the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) at Army Community
Services, Waller Hall, (253) 967-9704. Be sure to bring any existing IEP and
previous school’s notes on progress. Take the IEP when you register your child for
school. The process will begin at that point. If assessment is needed, there are
several avenues for that to happen, i.e., Army Exceptional Family Member
Program (EFMP), Child Find, and teacher recommendation based on in-classroom
observation/performance. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to
speak with a counselor. The following Web sites provide information, resources
and links pertaining to special education.
WA State Infant Toddler Early Intervention Program (Dept of Social and Health Services)
Child find is a component of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; has many useful links
Offers a wealth of information on children with disabilities; has many useful links
Note: All Washington schools have special services for special needs; however,
not all schools provide every service for all developmental needs. The school that
you register at will arrange proper placement of your child. This is definitely an
area where parent advocacy is very important for your child’s educational growth
and success.
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             A Special Needs Student Transition Checklist

    Contact your local special education counselor, teacher, or
     director and request assistance as to what should be done before
     transitioning to a new school.
    Schedule an Annual Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting to discuss the
     progress your child has made since your last Individual Education Program
     (IEP) and/or Modification Plan (MP). Ask for written suggestions that may
     help your child and the staff at the new school.
    Request a copy of your child’s complete educational record to include a
     copy of the latest IEP. HAND CARRY all records, samples of your child’s work
     (or portfolio, if available) and other information related to your child’s
    Contact your local ACS Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP, Ft
     Lewis, 253- 967-9704) Coordinator. They can assist you with identifying
     resources at your new duty station.
    Be sure to take any special equipment and refill medication prescriptions
     that your child may need for the next few months.
    Contact the installation School Liaison Officer to assist with transitioning
     your child to the new school.

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                  High School Graduation Requirements
The School Liaison Office provides this information as a service to our Military
Families. It should be noted that nothing is absolute. There are 4 prerequisites
that must be satisfied in order to graduate. They are:
    1. Earn high school credits
    2. Pass state tests or approved alternatives to those tests
    3. Complete a Culminating Project
    4. Complete a High School and Beyond Plan
 The following link will take you to the Office of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction’s statewide graduation requirements.
Requirements are subject to change from year to year, and each High School is
unique. For specific details pertaining to your child’s school, visit the school’s Web
site and view the graduation requirements. All public high school students are
required to meet statewide graduation requirements in order to earn a diploma.
Students must earn the Certificate of Academic Achievement by passing the
reading, writing, and mathematics sections of the 10th-grade Washington
Assessment of Student Learning. Students in the class of 2013 will also have to
pass the science portion of the WASL. Students who do not meet the standard on
one or more of the High School WASL tests on their first try may retake each of
those tests up to four times. Students who have used all five of their free testing
opportunities and are still unable to pass the WASL by the end of 12th grade may
get an additional four opportunities by enrolling in a high school completion
program at a community or technical college.

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Shown below is a table that shows graduating credit requirements.

                           Graduation Subject/Credit Requirements Table
Subject                                               Credits
English                                               3
Mathematics                                           2
Science*                                              2
Social Studies**(including U.S. and WA State History) 2.5
Occupational Education***                             1
Health and Fitness                                    2
Visual or Performing Arts                             1
Electives****                                         5.5
Total                                                 19
Notes:* At least one credit of the two science credits must be in a laboratory science.
**See WAC 180-51-075 for equivalencies.
***Occupational education means credits resulting from a series of learning experiences designed to assist the
student to acquire and demonstrate competency of skills under student learning goal four and which skills are
required for success in current and emerging occupations. At a minimum, these competencies shall align with the
definition of an exploratory course as proposed or adopted in the career and technical education program
standards of the superintendent of public instruction. The assessment of achieved competence in this subject area
is determined at the local district level.
 ****The minimum elective credits shall be met by additional courses in the required subject areas, by specific
district requirements, or by any course offered pursuant to WAC 180-51-061 or WAC 180-51-066.

While each school district determines the guidelines for the Culminating Project,
there are statewide goals:

       Encourage students to think analytically, logically and creatively and to
        integrate experience and knowledge to solve problems.
       Give students a chance to explore a topic in which they have a great
       Offer students an opportunity to apply their learning in a “real world" way.

As part of the Culminating Project, each student will demonstrate essential skills
through reading, writing, speaking, production and/or performance. To complete
the project, students may be asked to write a research paper, work with a mentor
in school or in the community, present to a community or peer panel, pull
together a portfolio of work and/or develop a multimedia presentation.

Contact your high school for information about the Culminating Project.

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The High School and Beyond Plan gets all students thinking about their future and
how to get the most out of high school, so that they’re ready to pursue their adult
lives, no matter what direction they plan to take.

Ideally, students write their plan in 8th or 9th grade and then continue to revise it
throughout high school to accommodate changing interests or goals. Students
should be encouraged to include the following elements in their plan:

      Their personal story – what experiences, interests and goals are shaping
       who they are now and who they want to become
      Their learning style
      Their goals for high school – what their four years of high school look like,
       including classes, extracurricular activities, sports, a job, etc.
      Their goals for immediately after high school – a student’s plan should
       include the classes needed in preparation for a 2- to 4-year college,
       vocational or technical school, certificate program or the workforce

Each school district determines the guidelines for the High School and Beyond
Plan. Please contact your local school district to obtain a copy of the guidelines
that have been established for your district.

Q: Who is the point of contact to whether high school credits earned elsewhere
will be accepted in your state?

A: The high school where register will review existing credits needed to graduate.
Lakes High School is for on-post kids. If there are disputed credits, the School
Superintendent would review and make the final decision.

Q: What are private school options in the area?

A: There are many private schools in the area. Visit the link below and any school
that has an asterisk next to it is private. You can determine a school’s location by
visiting its respective Web site.

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