Ellsworth EFMP-Family Support Website and Facebook Changes

On December 1, 2013, the Ellsworth EFMP-Family Support webpage – www.ellsworthefmp.org – will no longer be active. All the information on the site has been transferred to this page.

The Ellsworth EFMP-Family Support Facebook page – www.facebook.com/ellsworthefmp – will also no longer be active on December 1st. At that time, all EFMP information will be disseminated through the Ellsworth SLO Facebook page – www.facebook.com/ellsworthafb.slo. Be sure to “like” that page to receive the latest EFMP news and resource information.

We appreciate your patience during this transition. If you have any EFMP Family Support questions or issues, please contact the SLO at 605-385-1381 or slo@ellsworthafrc.org. Thank you!

Douglas School District Bullying Hotline

Starting today, September 20, 2013, the Douglas School District will offer an anonymous bullying hotline.  The hotline will provide the district, students and parents with another tool to combat bullying.  The attached letter explains the program in more detail and will be sent home with students on Friday.

Although reporting bullying¬†directly to a teacher, counselor¬†or administrator is best, the district realizes that some students may not be comfortable doing that and wanted¬†to give them¬†another reporting option.¬†¬†For more information, contact¬†your school’s office or go to www.cyberbullyhotline.com.

(Click on the picture for a clearer view)



Summer Boredom Busters

“I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”¬† If you haven’t already heard this from your kids¬†this summer, consider yourself lucky.¬† But chances are it’s coming.¬† To help combat the evitable summer boredom,¬†here’s a list¬†of¬†some academic, recreational and sports¬†opportunities to help keep your kids busy, happy and out of your hair.¬† Click on the blue hyperlinks for¬†program websites.

Black Hills State University:

BHSU Summer Academic Camps are day and multi-day camps about topics ranging from history, photography, accounting, music and more. The BHSU Athletic Department is offering team and individual sports camps including football, volleyball, basketball, softball, track and cross country.

Location: 1200 University St in Spearfish, Phone: 605-642-6343.

Dahl Fine Arts Center:

The Dahl is offering a variety of classes and camps for kids, teens and adults. They also have family activities.

Location: 713 7th St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-4101.

Douglas School District:

Douglas has open gym and sports camps throughout the summer. The Douglas High School Community Library will be open Monday-Thursday, 6-8pm.

Location: 420 Patriot Dr in Box Elder, Phone: 605-923-0030.

Ellsworth Teen Center:

The Teen Center is a cool hang out for kids age 13-18 and has lots of activities, trips and programs.

Location: 1679 Ellsworth St, Phone: 605-385-5214.

Ellsworth Youth Center:

The Youth Center is a great place for kids age 5 (and in Kindergarten) through 12 and offers¬†a school age program, open rec, and youth sports.¬† They also have Tae Kwon Do, piano and guitar classes.¬† On August 12-17, they are hosting the Missoula Children’s Theater.

Location: 1679 Ellsworth St, Phone: 605-385-2277.

Holbrook Library:

The base library has a great children’s¬†section and the always popular Safariland play area. They are¬†kicking off their Summer Reading Program on June 14-15.

Location: 2650 Doolittle Dr on Ellsworth AFB, Phone: 605-385-1688.

Journey Museum:

Besides being a cool place to learn about Black Hills history, the Journey is offering a Summer of Innovation Space Camp, monthly Family Fun Days, and more.

Location: 222 East New York St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-6923.

Just Jymnastics:

Along with their normal gymnastics classes, Just Jymnastics also offers day camps during the summer.

Location: 3660 Sturgis Rd in Rapid City, Phone: 605-341-0078.

Pennington County 4-H Program:

4-H has a number of day and week long camps for kids.

Location: 601 E Centre St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-2188.

Rapid City Club for Boys:

The “Boy’s Club” is a fun place for boys age 6-17. They have a variety of sports and recreation options, a summer education program and more.

Location: 320 N 4th St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-343-3500.

Rapid City Parks and Recreation:

Parks and Rec has a ton of summer programs – aquatics, day camps, field trips, sports camps, ice skating and so much more.

Location: 515 West Blvd in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-4168.

Rapid City Public Library:

The three Rapid City libraries have a variety of programs this summer, including their Summer Reading Program starting on June 8. They also have a series of summer reading events, a Family Adventure Scavenger Hunt, and weekly story times.


Downtown – 610 Quincy St, Phone: 605-394-6139

North – 10 Van Buren St, Phone: 605-716-4098

East – 800 Mickelson, Phone: 605-718-2904

Rapid City YMCA:

The Y offers a variety of programs, including swimming lessons, sports camps, and day camps.
Location: 815 Kansas City Street in Rapid City, Phone: 605-718-9622.

South Dakota Air and Space Museum:

The Air and Space Museum is another cool place to check out. They are holding a free Middle School Science Camp on July 24-26.

Location: 2890 Rushmore Dr at Ellsworth AFB, Phone: 605-385-5189.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus – West:

The Outdoor Campus is an awesome place to explore. They have a bunch of free classes for all ages.

Location: 4130 Adventure Trail in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-2310.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology:

The SDSMT Youth Programs is offering a series of week long summer camps with topics like geology, robotics, and engineering.  The SDSMT Athletic Department is offering team and individual basketball and soccer camps.

Location: 501 East St Joseph St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-394-2511.

University Center Rapid City:

The UCRC is hosting Camp Invention for students entering grades 1-6 this summer. Kids will have the opportunity to learn about science and engineering in fun and creative ways.

Location: 4300 Cheyenne Blvd in Rapid City, Phone: 605-718-4112.

Youth and Family Services Girls Inc:

Girls Inc serves girls ages 6-17 and provides fun and exciting educational and recreational activities throughout the summer.

Location: 120 E Adams St in Rapid City, Phone: 605-341-5010.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  There is a lot more going on out there!  But hopefully it will help give you an idea of some things your kids (and your entire family) can do this summer.  For more ideas, check out these sites:

28th Force Support Squadron

Rapid City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten ‚Äď Lunch and Learn Workshop


If you have a 5 year old who will be starting kindergarten next year, I invite you to attend the Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten РLunch and Learn Workshop on Thursday, May 2 from 11:15am-12pm at the Child Development Center.  Michelle Henrich, Badger Clark Elementary School principal, will present ways to help your child prepare for kindergarten and what to expect during the first few days of school.  Lunch will be provided.  The workshop is limited to the first 40 sign-ups.  Call Chad Canaan, Ellsworth School Liaison Officer, at 385-1381 or email chad.canaan@ellsworth.af.mil to register.


Free SAT and ACT Prep Kits for Military Members and their Dependents

From the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

Children and relatives of service members can get free SAT and ACT preparation kits again this year, compliments of professional athletes and the testing company eKnowledge.

Service members (Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Veterans and Retired), DoD employees and civilians performing military support qualify for the program. Eligible relatives and dependents of service members also qualify.

The SAT and ACT PowerPrep Program, which retails for $200, is available free upon request (there is a nominal charge for materials and shipping). It consists of 11 hours of video instruction, 3,000 files of supplemental test prep material, sample questions and practice tests. Students select the training they need and study at their own pace.

The sponsorship is in alliance with the DoD and is entering its eighth year. eKnowledge has donated 200,000 programs valued at over $42 million at no profit to the company.

To order online, go to: http://www.eknowledge.com/DANTES

Free Online Tutoring and Homework Help for Students in U.S. Military Families

From http://www.tutor.com/military.

The Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families program gives students in eligible military families access to free online tutoring and free homework help from live, expert tutors in more than 16 subjects.

Students in military families who are moving frequently or dealing with a deployed parent can rely on our tutors for expert help staying on top of tonight‚Äôs homework or catching up on missed concepts and lessons‚ÄĒat no cost.

How do I know if I’m eligible for free online tutoring and homework help?

Students in U.S. military families are eligible for free homework help and tutoring through the Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families program. Check out the complete eligibility list to find out if you and your family qualify for free access.

I’m eligible. When can I use the program?

Anytime you need it. Our tutors are online 24/7, and you never need an appointment.

Where do I access the free program?

Everything is online, so you can access the program from any internet-enabled computer worldwide.

Free tutors? Are they qualified to help me?

Absolutely. All our tutors are real people who are expert in the subjects they tutor. They tutor every skill level from elementary to advanced, and they can also help eligible military adult students with introductory college courses, adult learning, and career transitions.

How exactly does the tutor help me?

You and the tutor will work together in a secure online classroom, where you can chat, draw on a shared whiteboard, upload files, and browse the web together.

What subjects and grade levels can I get help with?

K-12 students can get help in more than 16 academic subjects, including algebra, chemistry, calculus, and physics.

Eligible military adult learners can get back-to-school, college and career transition help, including GED prep and resume writing.

Parent Teacher Conferences: 10 Tips for Parents

By Heidi Brewer – East Valley Parenting Advice Examiner

1. The most important tip for parent-teacher conferences is to show up. Involvement from the home is very important to a child’s education. Parents may learn things about their child or their school day that they didn’t know. They will also get ideas for how to better help their child succeed in school and tips for what they can do at home. Be informed of the date and time of conferences by checking your child’s backpack or asking your child about notes from school, especially towards the end of the quarter or semester.

2. Stick to your scheduled time unless prior arrangements have been made with the teacher. When you are late, please know that there may be another conference scheduled immediately after yours, therefore you may not get the full scheduled time with the teacher.

3. By the same token, don’t stay beyond your scheduled time as it may have a domino effect causing each conference following yours to run late. Many teachers are happy to meet with parents at other times to continue the conversation if necessary. All you need to do is ask.

4. Make sure your child’s teacher knows that you are willing to work at home with your child. Ask about specific strategies, activities or ideas you can do at home. Follow through and then follow-up with the teacher later.

5. Have specific input for your child’s teacher. For example, your child may tell you that he or she is bored in class. Try to get to the root of the problem before conferences. The conversation will be more fruitful if feedback is specific such as, ‚ÄúMy child seems to have mastered the material in mathematics, what would the next level be?‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúMy child does not seem to be very engaged with the learning, have you noticed the same thing in your class?‚ÄĚ

6. Work together to come up with a game plan for behavior or academic issues. Students experience the highest levels of success when school and home environments are all working toward a common goal.

7. Try not to act defensive about your child. Don’t forget, your child’s teacher spends 6 or more hours a day, five days a week with your child and knows certain aspects of them very well. Some children are responsible, mature and self-controlled at school and only let down their hair when they get home, others are just the opposite. Be open to the idea that the teacher may see a different side of your child than you do. And on the other hand, make sure the teacher knows what makes your child unique and special to you.

8. Ask about volunteer opportunities. Many teachers could use the extra help in the classroom or perhaps the PTA organization wants your help. The more involved with the school you are, the more you are part of the community of people helping children, including yours, to succeed.

9. Make sure you know how to contact the teacher if issues should arise. Always try to contact the teacher before you go to the principal. The issue may be a simple misunderstanding that can be easily explained or it may be a problem that can be quickly solved. If not, you, the teacher and the principal can work together to help unravel the issue.

10. Even if the conversation became heated or uncomfortable, try to leave the conference on a positive note. It’s highly important for your child’s success in school that the lines of communication are open between teacher and parent. Make sure not to burn bridges as you do not want to miss out on hearing about all the growth and development your child is experiencing at school. Keep in mind that you can always come back at a later time when things have cooled off.

Helping with Homework

Reposted from http://www.pbs.org/parents/goingtoschool/helping_homework.html

Wondering how to help your children with homework ‚ÄĒ or how to get them to do it without a struggle? Here’s how.

What’s the point of homework? “Homework is designed to help students reinforce key concepts, process and solidify new information, provide time for extra practice of skills, and reflect on how much they’ve learned,” notes teacher Susan Becker, M. Ed. However, approaches to homework vary from district to district, school to school and teacher to teacher. Some schools don’t give children homework until the 2nd grade, others start in kindergarten. Some teachers create original homework, while other use or modify prepared work sheets.

Don’t do the homework for your child. Most teachers use homework to find out what the child knows. They do not want parents doing their children’s homework but do want parents to make sure homework is completed and review any mistakes to see what can be learned from them.

Don’t take over your child’s projects. Teachers do not want parents doing their kids’ projects. Instead, they want parents to support their kids’ learning and make sure they have what they need to accomplish a task. Check with your child’s teacher for his policy and review it with your child.

Set up a good space to work. All children need the same thing: a clean, well-lit space. But keep in mind that each child may work differently; some will do their work at the kitchen table and others at their desks in their rooms.

Pay attention to your child’s rhythms and help him find the right time to begin his work. Some children will work best by doing homework right after school; others need a longer break and must run around before tackling the work. Most will need a snack. If your child does after-school activities, set a homework time before or after the activity, or after dinner. Whatever routine you choose, help your child stick to it.

Find out how your child studies best. “You should find the ways your child likes to study. For example, some kids will learn spelling words by writing them out, others by closing their eyes and picturing them and saying them aloud,” advises teacher Susan Becker, M. Ed. “The sound environment is also important,” adds Michael Thompson, Ph.D. “Some kids may want to listen to music, some are helped by being in the middle of noise, others need absolute quiet.”

Don’t hover ‚ÄĒ but stay close by. Keep in mind that it’s their homework, not yours, but remain available in case you are needed. “The ideal set up would be for a parent to be reading nearby while the child is studying because then you both are doing your educational work together, but that’s not always possible,” says Michael Thompson, Ph.D. “A parent may be working out of the home, or need to be working in the home and cooking dinner. So if you are home, stay close, and if you are not there, have another adult check to make sure it’s going OK. And remember that all homework is not equal, so not everything will need your rapt attention.”

Limit media exposure. Turn off the TV and the iPod when your child does homework. And the computer too, unless it’s being used for research. You might start by asking how much time he thinks he should spend on this, and negotiate from there. Remember, you have the final word. And keep in mind that if you watch TV when your child can’t, the plan may backfire.

Let the teacher know if you gave your child a lot of homework help. “If your child needs extra help or truly doesn’t understand something, let the teacher know. Write on the assignment, ‘done with parental help,’ or write a separate note,” advises Michael Thompson, Ph.D. If your child resists, explain that homework is used to practice what you know and to show the teacher what you need help learning more about ‚ÄĒ so it’s a parent’s job to let the teacher know.

Getting Your Kids to School – The New Reality

It‚Äôs the topic everyone‚Äôs talking about; the loss of the base bus contract for Prairie View and Rushmore Heights housing. Here are the facts ‚Äď for both legal and financial reasons, the base can no longer providing busing. Douglas school district policy states they only provide busing to families living more than 2.5 miles away from school (the state mandate is actually 5 miles). So what‚Äôs a parent to do?

The good news is you have options. First, the Youth Center is working to continue to offer bus service for children enrolled in the School Age program. However, there will be an additional fee for this service. The Youth Center is registering for the upcoming school year and spots could fill up quickly. You can find out more information by calling 385-2277 or going to their website – www.ellsworthfss.com/youth-center/school-age.

A second option is to work with a bus contractor on your own. This is an option that a number of families are currently exploring. One base family has agreed to take the lead on this and are asking interested families to email rushmorebusservice@yahoo.com with their name, address, contact number, housing area (Prairie View or Rushmore Heights) number of children needing bus service, and what schools their children attend. There will also be a fee for this service that the potential contractors will set.

Third, you can drive your kids to school. One of the drawbacks of this option is traffic congestion. A better idea would be to work with your friends and neighbors to set up a carpool. Carpooling will help reduce the amount of vehicles around the schools and will mean you won’t have the sole responsibility of getting your children to and from school each day.  If you drive, please follow the supervised drop off times at the schools:

School                         Drop Off Time     School Start Time
Badger Clark (K-1)      7:45am                8:05am
Francis Case (2-3)      7:45am                8:05am
Vandenberg (4-5)        7:30am                7:50am
Middle School (6-8)     7:35am                8:00am
High School (9-12)      7:00am                7:55am

If you need to be at work before the supervised drop off times, Douglas has a Before and After School Program that starts at 7am. However, these spots can fill up quickly. For more information, please contact the Carrousel building at 923-0090 or go to their website – http://car.dsdk12.net/carrousel/Before_and_After_School_Child_Care.html.

The last option is to have your children walk. This may not be the answer for everyone and with our crazy South Dakota weather, it may not be appropriate every day. However, it is an option. The base would like everyone who walks to use the Patriot Gate by Vandenberg. The base is constructing a crosswalk there so children can safely cross the road. There are suitable sidewalks from both housing areas to all the Douglas schools and most children will have to walk less than a mile. The farthest distance is about 1.5 miles to the High School. Douglas has numerous crosswalks around the schools and will post crossing guards on 225th St by Vandenberg and at the corner of 225th and Tower Rd. The City of Box Elder is also looking at adding a four way stop at that intersection to help slow down traffic.

Parents who are going to have their children walk should talk to them about pedestrian safety. It‚Äôs also recommended parents walk the route with them beforehand so they know exactly where to go. One idea is to talk with your friends and neighbors and create a “walking school bus.” This is a group of kids who walk together each day. Parents can even take turns walking with the children or assign an older student to supervise the group.

These are some of the options available to parents when school starts on August 28. Regardless of what option your family chooses, please remember to be safe, be vigilant and BE PATIENT! Expect the first week or two to be busy and plan accordingly. The base and school district are committed to work with parents to ensure students can get to school safely. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please contact me at chad.canaan@ellsworth.af.mil. Here’s to a safe and successful school year!