Fair designed for Army parents

The Baltimore Sun

Every year, Linda Redwine Bell hears the same questions from Fort Meade parents: Where do we register? What academic programs do you offer? What shots do my kids need?

With the approaching summer - a busy time for military relocations - Bell, Fort Meade's school liaison, decided that parents needed a clearinghouse of information that would introduce them to everything from mental health services to uniforms to parent-teacher-student associations.

Parents will be able to get information on Anne Arundel County schools, particularly those on post, at Fort Meade's first Back-to-School Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at McGill Training Center on the Army post in western Anne Arundel County.

"We want to give all of our families an opportunity to know what agencies are there to support them," Bell said.

About 2,700 children from Army families attend county schools, said spokesman Bob Mosier.

Seven public schools are on the post.

Representatives from Child and Youth Services, the Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center and more than 30 other agencies will be there to answer questions ranging from different types of academic programs to nutritional needs.

Lisa Madson, a parent of a rising eighth-grader at MacArthur Middle School, knows how confusing it can be for military parents to find their footing in a new community.

Her husband is in the Army and is stationed at Fort Meade.

"The more information, the better," said Madson, who is president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at MacArthur.

She will be selling shirts and passing out information about the school's uniform policy to parents.

Parents will get a visual representation of the policy during the fair's fashion show.

Students will model the uniforms used at five schools in the school system and showcase what clothes are acceptable at other schools.

Students from Meade High School also will model prom clothing.

Principals of several schools also will model the school-friendly apparel, Bell said.

She said she expects more than 400 parents to attend the event.

Her office sent out 3,000 e-mails to families at Fort Meade and passed out more than 5,000 fliers.

The goal of the Back-to-School Fair is to encourage positive relationships among the schools, Fort Meade families and the community.

"It's a great opportunity for parents to get an updated list of school supplies and get connected to the schools," said Eddie Scott, the principal of Meade Middle School.

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