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Running a mile in their shoes

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Marine Corps Educators Boot Camp Source US Marine CorpsIn an effort to better understand the skills that student-veterans bring with them to college, a group of New Jersey educators attended a week-long Marine Corps Educators Boot Camp at Paris Island, South Carolina. Many of the participants of the program were high school guidance counselors, principals, and history teachers who took part in order to learn more about what some of their students may be doing following graduation; other participants were administrators at community colleges who wanted to find out more about education in the military and how the skills that veterans have learned there can translate into college credit and help them find work in the civilian workforce.

The Community College Times has more:

Last year, Warren County Community College (WCCC) in New Jersey launched a program that allows military veterans to earn college credits for their service-related experiences. As with other programs at community colleges serving military veterans and other servicemembers, WCCC’s Veterans In Pursuit of Educational Readiness (VIPER) requires, in part, helping them understand the college environment.

So when an opportunity came for educators to sample what it’s like to be a Marine, Robert Sintich, who created the VIPER program, took the opportunity. He also recruited another college official to join him for the week of training at Parris Island, S.C.—WCCC President Will Austin. . . .

“We got to participate in a lot of activities; we ate like Marines, we marched around with them, we were treated like recruits,” Austin said.

For the Marines, the main goal of the Marine Corps Educators Boot Camp is to educate the educators.

“We are aware that there is a bit of a disconnect between the military and the education system, and this program’s goal is to connect the two because their missions are very similar in nature,” said Sgt. Samuel Nasso, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in New Jersey.

Educators have a lot of influence on young men and women’s lives, and the Marines want to show educators how their philosophy connects with education and the types of training they receive that can convey to civilian life, Nasso said. One of the Marine Corps philosophies is the concept of continual professional growth, he said.

“Since day one a Marine is in training to the day the Marine retires, the goal is to strive to be a better Marine and a better individual in all facets of live,” Nasso said. “We want the educators to see the benefits of what becoming a Marine really entails so if a young man or woman approaches them they can speak on the matter knowledgeably.”

“These men and women are being trained in many essential skills that truly are educationally based,” said Sintich, whose son is a Marine. “By experiencing the Marine program first-hand, it helps us to get a better understanding of the whole picture—and lets the Marines understand our program better, too.”

Read more about the program here.