Newcomers with children arrive in the Stuttgart military community with a variety of questions, such as “Where will my child go to school?,” “Will their classes transfer?” and “Can they still be in the band?.”
To find the answers, they only need to call one office: School Transition Services Support. STSS was created to help citizens in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart transition into, within and out of the community.
STSS also serves as the primary adviser to the garrison commander on all school-related matters.
“We’re bridging gaps for families moving into Stuttgart, or moving out, with services and the knowledge they need to make a smooth transition,” said Rena Hall, school liaison officer. “I like to think of us as a resource and referral bank.”
Besides helping families move in and out, Hall and her co-worker, Lorien Gustafson, also help students transition within the school system, from pre-school students moving on to kindergarten, to high school students preparing for college and the workforce.
“We can focus on individual family needs,” Gustafson said. “We are so specific.”
Beginning this month, high school students and their parents can find specific answers to questions in the free “R U Ready for Life After High School?” class taught by the SLOs. The class, which started Jan.6 and continues through February, provides a tool kit for teens planning to attend college or find a job after graduation. It includes tips on dealing with roommates, managing an apartment and budget planning.
“We’re hoping to teach them the value of a dollar, how far it can go, [and] to set smart goals,” Gustafson said.
The class meets Monday and Wednesday at the Hub on Patch Barracks at 6 p.m. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Additionally, SLOs visit schools to talk with students about their future.
“We try to talk about making wise choices,” said Hall. For example, she talks with high school students about choosing a nutritious lunch venue when they leave school for lunch.
The best way to find a SLO, besides calling or e-mailing, is to attend a School Advisory Council meeting, tenant meeting or town hall meeting. At these venues, SLOs take students’ and parents’ issues discussed directly to the commander.
“We’re the direct link from the command to school,” Gustafson said.
They also serve as communication agents between companies, schools and families. For example, they give each school’s required supply list to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service early, to ensure that the store is stocked with the right supplies in time for school.
STSS also helps form partnerships between schools and garrison tenant units with volunteer programs. Interested units should contact STSS.
For more information, call the STSS office at 430-7460/civ. 0711-680-7460.