Created: 12/12/2013 6:33 PM KSTP.com
By: Katie Eldred
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and the Rochester Education Association received some special recognition Thursday. It was for one of their programs that helps students that have family members serving overseas.
A group of John Marshall High School students all have one thing in common. They all have a military connection.
"I have a brother Jake, he's in Afghanistan," said Sam Walters.
For students like Sam Walters, who have loved ones serving overseas, school work isn't the only thing on their mind.
"My brother he's like my best friend and it's just hard having him so far away and not being able to talk to him every day, that's the hardest part, wondering if he's okay," said Walters.
The Rochester Education Association along with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and RCTC, have developed a program to help teachers help students like Sam.
"Military kids are not visible, but if they have someone who's in the military and who is deployed, there's a lot of stress," said Janet Suter.
Suter is a former John Marshal teacher who helped develop the program. It's an online course that trains teachers to identify military students and the emotional issues that comes from deployment.
"I think the more teachers know about their students, the more they understand where they are coming from, the better you can address the student’s needs," said Suter.
Minnesota 2020 came down to Rochester to recognize the success of the program. They used it as an example in one of their newest reports of community driven education reform.
"It is wonderful that we can have community members working with educators to put together these programs, I'm hoping that other communities will be able to benefit from the work that's done here," said Minnesota 2020’s Michael Diedrich.
Minnesota 20-20 says community driven education reform is more effective since it targets each communities unique needs.
The program at John Marshal has definitely had an impact on these students.
"It’s nice just knowing that you have people that are going through the same thing as you," said Walters.
Helping teachers help these students while they await one thing on their mind.
"He'll be coming home soon," said Walters.
Minnesota 2020’s report features four other examples of community driven education reform. For more information we've posted a link, here.