ParentCamp International: A Military Spouse’s Experience

ParentCamp International: A Military Spouse’s Experience

When I first received the invitation for ParentCamp International, the first thought that came to my mind was I just can’t miss the opportunity and I had to be there!! I was very excited.  As a military spouse, whose husband has been deployed more than five times and being a mother of three kids, and as a part-time employee of the Anne Arundel county public schools, I felt that it was a chance I may not get again. Meeting senior officials of the Department of Education and parents and educators from various other systems to share stories and hear their experiences was a great networking opportunity.

Entering the hallway of the federal building, everyone was very helpful and welcoming! We were welcomed in several languages, which was impressive as well. I felt honored to hear from representatives of the White House, Justice Department, and Secretary of Education John King surprised us by making a sudden appearance. The day was very well-planned, eight sessions within three different time periods, most of which were relevant to my line of work.

During the breakout sessions, I was able to interact with other educational professionals, parents, ED staff, and others from the DC metro area. In the first time period I attended “Bridging Cultural Gaps Between Parents and Children of Middle Eastern, South Asian or Other Cultures,” which was relevant to my own personal situation. Within that session I was able to share my experiences and was very pleased to hear multiple perspectives, since it is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. I, personally, have made efforts to eliminate that gap in my community.

The second and third time periods were equally as engaging, informative, and open, allowing individuals to share their experiences from different perspectives. Topics included supporting families of students with disabilities and English Learners – students’ civil rights, and counteracting racism and bullying in schools.

The ParentCamp experience gave attendees the opportunity to share, network, and learn from each other. I did share the resources that we have in Anne Arundel County and did learn a lot from other parents and educators from other counties. To learn more about ParentCamp International go to http://www.ed.gov/family-and-community-engagement and look under Bulletin Board.

Mahwish Anwar
Military spouse
Bilingual Family and Community Outreach Facilitator
Office of School and Family Partnerships
Anne Arundel County Public Schools