Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Visits Silver Strand Elementary School

Silver Strand Elementary School welcomed a very special visitor recently. On Friday, March 14, 2014, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Michael Stevens and his wife, Theresa, visited with students and staff at Silver Strand Elementary during a weeklong visit to San Diego.

MCPON Stevens is the highest-ranking enlisted sailor in the Navy, and serves as an advisor to the CNO and CNP. His wife, Theresa, holds the position of Ombudsman at Large and serves as an advocate for the Navy Family Ombudsman program.

MCPON began his visit to Silver Strand Elementary by participating in the weekly Friday flagpole ceremony, during which students and staff recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing patriotic songs and the school song. Directly following the songs, Principal Bill Cass selects Voyager Way tickets from each grade level to recognize students who display the Character Counts traits during the week. MCPON Stevens and Theresa assisted Principal Cass in the recognitions and praised students for their hard work.

Following the flagpole ceremony, Stevens and his wife toured the Military Connections Room, which provides opportunities for military kids to connect with a deployed parent via Skype. It also serves as a meeting location for the Military Kids and Deployment clubs, as well as the bi-weekly Military Moms Coffee, which often hosts guest speakers for military spouses and serves as an opportunity to discuss the issues and challenges that face many military families.

MCPON Stevens specifically requested to visit the Connections Room at Silver Strand during his visit, and was especially impressed with all of the resources available to support military families. Military families make up 81% of Silver Strand’s student body, and the visit was an ideal opportunity to showcase the various programs that are available at the school.

During the Connections Room tour, MCPON Stevens got to see support in action and participated in a Skype session between a sailor currently serving in Japan and his family, including a 5th grade daughter at Silver Strand Elementary and an 11th grade daughter, who was also in attendance.

“It was a very emotional and powerful experience for everyone,” said Naval Base Coronado School Liaison Officer Amiee Gillig.

Other San Diego-area schools that feature Military Connections Rooms include Perry and Dewey Elementary Schools.

Additional military support programs offered at Strand include:

  • Operation Bigs: In affiliation with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of San Diego, this program pairs adult mentors with 2nd through 5th grade military students in a weekly after school program to play games, create crafts, talk, and work on school projects.
  • FOCUS Deployment Club: This program offers resiliency training and homework tutoring after school two afternoons a week for students in 2nd through 5th grade who are experiencing difficulties connected with a deployed parent.
  • Operation Pals: This program offers a combination of the same supports offered by Operation Bigs and FOCUS Deployment Club for military students in kindergarten and 1st grade after school on a weekly basis. Adult military volunteers are provided by a local naval helicopter squadron (HSC-21) as well as from the USS John Paul Jones, with whom Silver Strand is a Partner in Education (PIE).
  • Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC): Provided by through a Department of Defense contract, this full time licensed social worker is instrumental in coordinating and encouraging all support services for military families at Silver Strand Elementary and also provides counseling support to students and parents.
  • Military Moms' Coffee: On selected afternoons, our MFLC hosts a program where mothers in military families get together to connect and discuss topics of interest. At times, guest speakers are involved in these meetings, and they take place in the district’s Military Family Connections Room located on the Silver Strand campus (Room 701).

Skype photo credit: Facebook


Mary Douglas
Staff Writer

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Tags: community, military, people, schools

Comment by Katie's Mom Mary Grace on March 25, 2014 at 9:59pm

Great idea! Great principal!

Comment by Kellee Hearther on March 28, 2014 at 7:32pm

Nicely done Mary!  It's a big deal to have MCPON at Silver Strand Elementary.  Congratulations to Bill Cass and his entire staff for the awesome job they are doing.  :)

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