Schools are where communities unite | Soundoff

By Dr. Lance Gibbon,
Guest columnist

At least once a year in an Oak Harbor classroom, students witness one of the most profound acts of selflessness a person can make — the reenlistment of a Navy parent. This illustrates perfectly the vital connection between Oak Harbor schools and our Navy community.

April is the Month of the Military Child around our nation. However, here in Oak Harbor, we focus on the needs of our military students every day. In fact, over half of our students are dependents of active-duty parents, and Oak Harbor Schools have been working with the unique needs of Navy families for more than 70 years.

It is truly a privilege to serve those who serve our country.

We understand the many sacrifices our military families make and believe that no Navy parent should ever have to worry about the quality of education their child receives. That’s why we work so hard to ensure every student receives the opportunity to learn in modern, well-maintained schools, led by talented and dedicated teachers.

We have more programs for more types of learners than you can find in any school district in our region, and we’re constantly improving, moving our schools from good to great to deliver the highest quality education for every child.

Not long ago, roughly 60 percent of our Navy students had a parent deployed to a war zone.

The Navy’s job is to protect our country; our job is to support that sacrifice here at home.

Actively connecting with students and parents before, during, and after deployment to cope with the natural stress of separation is a vital part of who we are.

Picking up and moving is an integral part of Navy life, and some of our schools see 20 percent turnover in the student population in a single school year. We work with parents and students to help make this transition as seamless and positive as possible. And our kids are fantastic at welcoming newcomers into the classroom.

During my seven years in Oak Harbor, I have had the honor of working side-by-side with Navy volunteers and leaders in our schools. Navy partners have built playgrounds and walking paths and gardens. They have helped coordinate traffic at big events.

Some have tutored math after school. And individuals have even stayed in touch with classrooms while deployed around the world, offering both geography and life-lessons in the process.

We would not be the schools we are without our Navy families. Their contributions as parents, volunteers and partners have truly made a difference in the lives of all Oak Harbor students.

Our role as a school community is to provide the best education possible for every child and to prepare them for a bright future in college, career, military service and beyond. We stand together with the Navy and our entire community to ensure the success of all of our children.

Thank you for your service.

Lance Gibbon is superintendent for Oak Harbor schools.


Navy Partners

* Broad View Elementary: NOSC, VR-61, VAQ-131

* Crescent Harbor Elementary: CVWP, NAS Supply

Hillcrest Elementary: VP-1, CPRW-10, NAS Operations

Oak Harbor Elementary: NAVSUP, VP-46, VAQ-139, VAQ-130

Olympic View Elementary: NOPF, NAS Security, VQ-1, VP-40, VAQ-138

* Oak Harbor Middle School: FRCNW, NIOC, VAQ-142

* North Whidbey Middle School: CNATTU, VAQ-136

* Oak Harbor High School: NHOH, VAQ-129


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 26
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates