Counselor to support military children in Duval schools

By: Catherine Varnum


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Deployments can be tough on all members of a military family. Duval County Public Schools is now working to make school life for military children a little easier.

DCPS has obtained a grant to hire a counselor to help military children in schools.

The counselor will go in two elementary schools very close to both the bases, Naval Station Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville. School leaders said the counselor will help kids adapt to being in a military family. 

“A psychologist can come in and work with families, someone who understands the specifics being part of a military family can create,” said school board member Ashley Smith Juarez.

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The district was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Department of Defense to bring in a counselor to help kids in military families do well in school while handling home life. The two schools that have the most kids in military families will share one counselor. Those schools are Venetia Elementary near NAS Jax and Joseph Finegan Elementary near Mayport.

“That individual will act as emotional support, and maybe they’ll recognize the underlying anxiety or trauma different than a teacher,” said Smith Juarez.

It’s all part of a program called the Anchor Project. Smith Juarez said they’re hoping to learn from having this counselor in these two schools, so they can expand that to more schools in the future. This grant is in place for the next five years.

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