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HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday – Friday: 8am – 4:30pm

Closed on the weekends, family days & holidays

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Program Overview

Mission

The School Liaison is committed to outreach, advocacy, and partnership initiatives that generate real-time solutions for military-connected students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 as they face global educational challenges and transitions.

Vision

To deliver unparalleled educational advocacy, outreach, and partnerships for military-connected students around the globe!

The School Liaison Program (SLP) is the central point of contact for commanders, military families, and local school systems on school-related matters. The SL assists commanders and Total Force families in meeting the challenging demands of the military lifestyle by developing and maintaining partnerships between parents, installation leadership, local schools, including home schools, private schools, charter schools, virtual schools, Department of Defense Education Activity and International Schools and the community.

School Liaison Manager

Mrs. Hodges joined Team Dyess as the new School Liaison Program Manager in July, 2023. Mrs. Hodges is committed to outreach, advocacy, and partnership initiatives that generate real-time solutions for military-connected students in grades K-12. As a former educator, Mrs. Hodges has a strong passion for academic excellence and student growth. Her teaching career spans various grade levels and subject areas in schools across the globe. Furthermore, Mrs. Hodges understands first-hand the obstacles military-connected students and families face, as she is the spouse of an active-duty service member and mother to three school-aged children. Please reach out to Mrs. Hodges regarding any questions or concerns you may have regarding meeting the unique academic, social, and emotional needs of military-connected students and families.

School Liaison Newsletters

We maintain regular communication to keep parents and students engaged and informed about upcoming events, activities, and more.

Top Resources

School-Related Information

In Abilene, Texas, you can find various types of schools for PreK through 12th grade, including public schools, private schools, and charter schools. There are no schools on the installation.

There are 43 public school districts in Region 14, and Dyess Air Force Base sits in the center. Due to the proximity to the base, the large majority of our Dyess AFB families choose Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD as their preferred district. However, those living outside of town in more rural areas attend smaller districts, including Jim Ned, Sweetwater, Clyde, and Merkel School Districts to name a few. Texas Leadership Academy is a public charter school near Dyess AFB, and they currently have about 80 military-connected students enrolled in their program. This map will give you an idea of the school districts around Dyess AFB: School District Locator. You may review any school district’s state accountability rating and demographical information at https://txschools.gov/ .

With the recent passing of Texas House Bill 2892, you will be able to transfer your child to your preferred school, regardless of where you live. However, a school district is not required to provide transportation to a student who transfers to another campus or district. If you would like your child to attend a district outside of your zoned residency, you will need to enroll in the school you are zoned first. Then, you will need to complete a transfer request form (located on the district website); list “Military Request-HB 2892” as your reason for the transfer. Wylie ISD (wyliebulldogs.org) is the only district in our area that does not require a transfer request form. You will simply enroll online.

Meals are available for purchase at all schools, and some students may qualify for the free/reduced-rate lunches depending on household income.  Abilene ISD offers free breakfast and lunch to students at every campus in the district throughout the 2023-2024 school year.

Before and After School Programs are available in the local area for a fee. School sports programs and band are available and popular community events.

Private and charter schools are also available throughout the area. Many offer military discounts to our Dyess AFB families.

More and more military-connected families are choosing homeschooling as their preferred method for educating their children. Dyess AFB and the Abilene area have may resources and support options available to those families.

Attendance Requirements in Texas

The Texas attendance rules say that a student must be in a class at least 90% of the time if they want to be sure to get credit for that class. This rule applies even if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 plan.

*Attendance is typically taken between 9:15 and 9:45 am each day. As long as your child is present at that time, they will be marked present for that school day.

The school year is approximately 180 days. Although Texas schools moved away from counting days to counting minutes, it works out to be pretty much 180 days for a school year. (House Bill 2610, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, amends Section 25.081, Texas Education Code, by striking language requiring 180 days of instruction and replacing this language with a requirement that districts provide at least 75,600 minutes of instruction, including intermissions and recess.)

Texas Grading System

In Texas, the standards for education are known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). These are statewide standards that outline what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and in each subject.

The grading scale is a PASS/FAIL system. A passing grade is 70 or above.  (100-90= A; 89-80=B; 79-70=C; 69 and below is failing)

Graduation Requirements in Texas

Currently in Texas, there are four graduation programs:

  • The Foundation program (22 credits)
  • The Foundation program plus an Endorsement (26 credits) which includes a 4th science & math plus courses for endorsement
  • The Distinguished Level of Achievement (26 credits)
  • Performance Acknowledgement (22 or 26 credits) – Outstanding performance on specific tests or earn a business/industry certificate

A credit is a unit of measure awarded for successful completion of a high school course. To graduate under the Foundation High School Program, students must earn a minimum of 22 credits in the following areas:

  • English (4 credits) • English I • English II • English III • An advanced English course
  • Mathematics (3 credits) • Algebra I • Geometry • An advanced math course
  • Science (3 credits) • Biology • Integrated Physics and • An advanced science course Chemistry/Chemistry/ Physics
  • Social Studies (3 credits) • World History or World Geography • U.S. History • U.S. Government (one-half credit) • Economics (one-half credit)
  • Languages Other • 2 credits in the same language or Than English (2 credits) • 2 credits from Computer programming, Languages, including Computer Coding
  • Physical Education (1 credit)
  • Fine Arts (1 credit)
  • Electives (5 credit

End-of-Course Exam Requirement: In addition to meeting graduation credit requirements, students are required to pass five end-of-course (EOC) exams to earn a diploma from a Texas public high school. Those five exams are given when a student takes English I and II, Biology, Algebra I, and U.S. History. A student who fails an EOC exam for no more than two of five courses can still receive a diploma if he or she qualifies to graduate as a result of an individual graduation committee review. Please see Graduation Options to see any exceptions to this rule for students with disabilities. Under the Foundation program only, the ARD committee, which includes you and your child, can decide whether your child will need to pass the end of course assessments in order to graduate. Refer to the TEA Graduation Toolkit for more information: Graduation Tool kit

Kindergarten

While the typical age for kindergarten enrollment is five years old by September 1 of the current school year, it is not mandatory for children to start school at this age. Texas does not have compulsory kindergarten attendance. However, from age 6 to 19, children must attend school, either public or private (includes homeschooling), until they graduate or get a GED. If a child has been enrolled in school for Pre-K, kindergarten, or 1st grade, the child must continue going to school that academic year, even if he or she is not yet 6.

Early Entrance Into 1st Grade: State policy specifically permits. TEC §42.003(c) states that a child may be enrolled in the first grade if he or she is 6 years old by the beginning of the school year, has been enrolled in a first-grade program in another state, or has successfully completed kindergarten in another state. Any five-year-old child may be assigned to 1st grade if the local district determines it is appropriate.

Keep in mind, according to the Military Interstate Compact Sec 3.102(b), military-connected students shall be allowed to continue their enrollment at grade level in the receiving State commensurate with their grade level (including Kindergarten) from a LEA in the sending State at the time of transition, regardless of age. In the case of a Kindergarten student, the student must have been enrolled and attended class in the sending State in order to assure continued attendance in kindergarten in the receiving State. A student that has satisfactorily completed the prerequisite grade level in the local education agency in the sending

state shall be eligible for enrollment in the next highest grade level in the receiving State, regardless of age. A student transferring after the start of the school year in the receiving State shall enter the school in the receiving State on their validated level from an accredited school in the sending State.

Pre-K

Pre-K is available in most public school districts. To qualify, your child must be 4 years old by September 1st of that school year. Disabled vets with a 10%+ rating and active duty dependents will qualify regardless of rank/income. Some districts offer an income-based Head Start Program for children that are 3 years old by September 1st of that school year. There are also several private pre-K options in Abilene.  This is the link to the law regarding Pre-K for military families.

Gifted Education

Gifted education is offered in each district. Parents may request gifted education for their own children each school year during a designated referral window. If your child received gifted education services at their previous school, they will qualify for similar services at their new school upon enrollment. However, the new school has the right to reevaluate your child to determine continued eligibility at their discretion.

Purple Star Schools

The Purple Star Designation was established by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to recognize public schools that provide high-quality support to meet the unique needs of military-connected students and their families. Last year, TEA designated seven Abilene ISD schools as Purple Star Campuses, including Abilene High School, Cooper High School, ATEMS High School, Clack Middle School, and Bassetti, Dyess, and Ward elementary schools. Wylie ISD boasts Wylie High School as the first school in the Abilene area to earn a Purple Star. They have recently renewed their status for the 2023-24 SY. Texas Leadership Academy (TLCA) also earned a Purple Star designation for the 2023-24 SY.

Purple Star Designation

Public Schools

Our Dyess AFB families have students spread out over 20 public schools near the installation. However, most of our military-connected students attend Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD. The next largest enrollment of military-connected students is at Jim Ned CISD, Sweetwater ISD, Clyde CISD, Merkel ISD, and Texas Leadership Academy. This map will give you an idea of the school districts around Dyess AFB: School District Locator. You may review any school district’s state accountability rating and demographical information at https://txschools.gov/.

Abilene Independent School District (AISD)

Abilene ISD covers 106 square miles in Taylor and Jones counties. Approximately 14,700 students are enrolled in Abilene ISD for the 2023-24 school year.

Abilene ISD features two traditional high schools, a STEM academy high school, a medical high school magnet program, and an alternative high school for at-risk students. AISD is also home to four middle schools, thirteen elementary schools, an early learning center for preschool students, one alternative placement campus, and one adult education center.

Two magnet schools in Abilene ISD are located on the campuses of Hardin-Simmons University (Holland Medical High School) and McMurry University (AISD Center for Innovation). The Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math, and Science (ATEMS) is now located at The LIFT, the district’s state-of-the-art 120,000-square-foot learning facility, which also houses AISD’s robotics, automotive, culinary arts, welding, and construction sciences programs.

Special Education includes PALS, ADAPT, and Resource Programs with over 2,300 students enrolled in Special Education. The curriculum is designed to challenge the college-bound and the vocational mind.

To enroll in AISD, use this enrollment link: https://www.abileneisd.org/for-parents/new-student-enrollment/

Wylie Independent School District (WISD)

Wylie ISD encompasses an area of 165 square miles in South Abilene and is one of Texas’ fastest-growing school districts. Wylie ISD currently enrolls nearly 5,000 students in 1 Early Childhood campus, 2 elementary schools, 2 intermediate schools, 2 junior high schools, and 1 high school. Wylie students continue to consistently perform above the regional and state averages on achievement tests, TAAS tests, and ACT and SAT college entrance exams.

Wylie ISD offers traditional high school courses and a newly started CTE program. The CTE career clusters include Business and Industry (Agriculture, Architecture, Digital Communications, Business/Marketing, and Automotive), Public Service (Culinary Arts, Teaching, Healthcare Therapeutic, Family & Community Services), and STEM (Engineering and Programming & Software Development).

The Special Education Department at WISD serves approximately 490 students and offers Resource Programs and a Functional Academics Program on each campus. F.A. is designed to skills which allow each student to succeed in real-life situations at home, school, work, and in the community.

To enroll at Wylie ISD, use the following link: https://www.wyliebulldogs.org/Page/152.

Bus Service

Abilene ISD provides bus service to Clack MS and Cooper HS students living on base. No other school districts currently transport to and from the base.

Private Schools

There are several private schools to choose from in Abilene, TX. These are some of the most popular private schools in Abilene: Abilene Christian School, St. John’s Episcopal, Cornerstone Christian School, Kenley School, PEAK Christian Academy, Abilene Classical Academy, Abilene Junior Academy, and A Habitat for Learning.

Enrollment for private schools can be done in person and online. More information about each can be found on their respective websites.

Please keep in mind that MIC3 rules do not apply to private schools.

Adult Education

Abilene has four major universities offering Associate, Bachelor, and Master Degree Programs, with a Doctorate Program available in Bible/Seminary Studies.  We also have a State Technical College, a School of Nursing, a Business College, a School of Cosmetology, Adult Education classes, and a Truck Driving/Commercial Driver’s License Program.  In addition, assistance may be available through the State Employment Agency’s Workforce Investment Act which assists qualified applicants in obtaining an Associate Degree from a local college or technical school or on-the-job training with local employers, and MyCAA.  (See the Adult Education topic for more information on Adult Education).

Adult Education is run through the Dyess AFB Education Office. Professional guidance counselors are available at the Dyess Education Office and at the colleges on an appointment basis. Testing facilities are available at McMurry University Campus to include testing for CLEP, Dantes, GRE, and GMAT.

Homeschooling in Abilene

Homeschoolers are not regulated in the same ways that traditional, accredited private schools are regulated in Texas. Homeschools in Texas are private schools for the purpose of compulsory attendance and private schools are not regulated by the state (Texas does not regulate the number of days per year that private schools must be in session or the number of days a student must attend). There is also no minimum amount of hours you must homeschool each day. The school district also has no authority to approve curricula used by private schools. Read more about the differences in regulation of private schools and homeschools in Texas. For more information about homeschooling in Texas, check out the Texas Home School Coalition at https://thsc.org/requirements-to-homeschool-in-texas/.

Dyess AFB has plenty of great support on base and throughout the community to enhance your child’s learning. There is a Dyess AFB Homeschoolers Group that meets several times each month for STEM activities at the base library, cooking class at the base chapel, and fellowship events around base. There are also special field trips offered on base for our Dyess AFB homeschoolers.

There are also several popular off-base co-ops and learning groups for homeschoolers, including Big Country Home Educators (BCHE) (bche.org), X Dot Academy (https://xdotacademy.com/), Classical Conversations of Abilene (classicalconversations.com), AHA! Abilene Homeschool Association, Big Country Homeschool Forum, and Friday School Homeschool Co-Op.

Homeschooling for Immunization Waiver

Extracurricular Participation for Homeschoolers

The Dyess AFB Youth Center offers one-hour PE classes twice per week for military-connected homeschoolers for $50 per family, per semester. Immunizations are required. Call 696-4797 to register.

Homeschool students are permitted to participate in UIL athletic and arts programs within the district they are zoned. Contact the student services department at your zoned district for enrollment. See the School Liaison if you want to participate at a different school. (https://www.uiltexas.org/policy/2021-22-policy-info/2021-22-homeschoolparticipation)

Other Community-Based Opportunities:

Texas Homeschool Coalition (https://thsc.org/), National Homeschool Association, and Homeschool Legal Defense Association are all associations that education homeschoolers on their rights and protections.

Dyess AFB Youth Supervision Policy

EFMP

Exceptional Family Member Support

The School Liaison works with all the area schools to ensure a quality education for families under the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).  The School Liaison works in conjunction with the school counselors, teachers, principals, base personnel, and local/state politicians/dignitaries to ensure compliance with federal and state laws governing education.  The SLO also works closely with the Exceptional Family Member Program-Family Support (EFMP-FS), the Exceptional Family Member Program-Medical (EFMP-M), and the Exceptional Family Member Program-Assignments (EFMP-A) to provide comprehensive assistance including Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and information and referral regarding educational, medical, financial, and social services resources to families.

    TRANSITIONS

    PCSing with Military-Connected Students?

    The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) provides consistency across states and was drafted with the intent to avoid conflict with existing state codes where possible.   It replaces widely varying policies that affect transitioning military students and supports uniform treatment for military-connected students as they transfer between school districts and member states.

    While the Compact is not exhaustive in its coverage, it addresses the key issues encountered by military families: in the areas of eligibility, enrollment, placement, extra curriculars, and graduation.

    Registrations

    When registering a child, parents should have the following:

    • Proof of Residency
    • You may use the TLF address as a temporary address for enrollment purposes: 4415thStreet, Dyess AFB, TX 79607
    • Current Utility Bill, Mortgage or Lease Documents, or Property Tax Records
    • Birth Certificate
    • Driver’s License
    • Copy of Your Military Orders
    • Social Security Card
    • Copy of Previous School Record
    • Immunization Records

    Others:

    • Course Description Book
    • Current Schedule
    • Class Rank
    • Activities Record (i.e., extracurricular participation records)
    • JROTC Records
    • Guardianship/Custody Papers
    • Letters of Recommendation (especially for senior students)
    • Writing Samples, if available
    • Portfolios, if available
    • Accelerated Reader Points, if available

    What is School Choice?

    Active duty members with military-connected students now have the option to transfer their children to their preferred school regardless of their residency. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide transportation for their student to and from school if they leave outside of their zoned district.

    Although military members have a right to transfer their school-aged children to their preferred school (HB2892), extra-curricular eligibility is governed by University Interscholastic League (UIL). If your child participated in varsity athletics at a school in Abilene, and you would like to transfer them to another school using the HB2892 transfer law, you will need to transfer them at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year. This would have been the first opportunity (Subchapter M.442.h) to transfer, and the student will not lose edibility; thus, be permitted to play the following season without sitting out. To maintain athletic eligibility, the military sponsor/parent must complete two forms: Previous Athletic Performance Form and the Residency Waiver. Once you have completed these two forms, you should submit them immediately to the campus principal and athletic coach.

    Military Family Life Counselor

    Our School-Based Military Family Life Counselors are critical in support of our military-connected students in schools. They are licensed behavioral counselors with specialized training in coping with the social and emotional hardships that our military-connected students must overcome due to frequent changes associated with deployments and family moves, divorce, self-esteem, and bullying. They offer individualized and group non-medical counseling to students while they are in school. This may look different at each campus, but they typically are in high traffic areas where they can check-in with students and gauge their needs in informal ways. In order for a family to receive support from the school MFLC in an official capacity/meeting with children, the parent must sign and return a parent consent form. The sessions must be held in an area that is in line-of-sight of certified staff.

    MFLC services support the mission because they can help ease stressors and build or strengthen resiliency skills for the family members impacted by the service member’s duty responsibilities. As a School Liaison Program Manager, I am a point of contact for the families and the school personnel. The families can contact me to inquire about MFLC services, and school staff can reach out to gain assistance in parent consent forms and communication about the program. In collaboration, the military-connected students can learn to navigate life with mental and emotional fortitude.

    Contact the MFLC:
    ATEMS, Abilene HS, and Cooper HS: 325-283-6260
    Clack Middle School: 325-520-4964
    Dyess Elementary School: 325-320-4980

    MFLC parent consent form

    Impact AID

    Impact Aid is a federal program administered through the Department of Education. It provides funding for a portion of the cost for educating children whose families live on military installations and those parents employed on federal property.

    There are over 3,000 military-connected students in our local schools. Whether you live on or off base, your affiliation to the military means potential federal funding for your child’s school. Why? Military installations are federal property and hence exempt from paying local property taxes. This loss of tax revenue results in reduced financial resources for the district. The Federal Impact Aid Program was set up to allow districts to receive reimbursement for the education of children who reside on military installations or have a parent who works on military/federal property.

    When your child’s school sends home the Impact Aid Survey Form, it is critically important that the surveys are signed, dated, and returned in the timeframe requested by the school.

    Youth Sponsorship

    The staff at Dyess AFB Child & Youth Programs are here to help you make your transition easier.

    EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

    Homeschool Support

    School Liaisons share information on homeschool issues, concerns, local policies, and regulations of state/local education agencies and connect home school families to their community.

    College and Career Readiness

    Your School Liaison is ready with information and resources for your graduating military-connected student. Career planning information, scholarship availability, post-secondary information, and opportunities, are all available to set your student up for success.

    Contact recruiters for military enlistment ASVAB

    Special Education

    If you need help with 504 or IEP plans, or support for your military-connected student with challenges, your school liaison is here to assist. They’ll ensure your student has the resources they need to succeed. Whether you’re looking for program information or help navigating the school system, reach out to your liaison.

    Sign-up for Child Mentorship

    Enroll as a Mentor or Register Your Child for Mentorship with Big Brothers,Big Sisters of Abilene and Mentors Care!

    Volunteer in Schools

    Making a lasting impact by volunteering. Your support is always needed, creating enriching experiences for students and fostering a vibrant learning environment.

    Resources and Information for Military-Connected Students

    Disclaimer (as per AFI 33-129) The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Air Force or the information, products, or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and morale, welfare, and recreation sites, the U.S. Air Force does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD web site.