School Liaison is a Total Force Program
Military Child Education has been, and continues to be, an AF Chief of Staff (CSAF) top priority. School Liaison positions were created to provide targeted, professional support at all AF installations to better assist military families through educational challenges associated with transition, deployment and reintegration. The Child Youth Education Services- School Liaison (CYES-SL) Program, directs resources, and develops community partnerships to help ensure military-connected children thrive academically, socially, and emotionally, regardless of duty station, deployments, or transition status. The CYES-SL program is vital to the readiness, resilience, and retention of the force. The Air Force must continue to provide consistent, impactful resources and support for families with children in grades Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 (PreK-12).
The School Liaison program is a total force program. It is available first and foremost to Active Duty service members, National Guard and Reservists on title 10 or 32 orders, Wounded Warrior & Gold Star families, Retirees during their final permanent change of station (PCS), and Civilian employees APF, NAF, or Contractor. In short any employee with school-age children PreK-12 attached to installation Command.
The Department of Defense has School Liaisons for each branch of military service. Your installation School Liaison has the Directory for each branch and can connect you with the School Liaison at your next duty station. Reach out early and often to gain support for any academic need PreK-12 grade.
- Birth Certificates (or Passport): To be eligible for the kindergarten program, a student must be five years old on or before September 1st of the current year. To be eligible for the first grade, a student must be six years old on or before September 1st of the current school year. A certified copy of the birth certificate is required for permanent enrollment of all students. Applications for Mississippi certified birth certificates are available in the school office or at the local health department. New students in other grades may be asked to provide a birth certificate if their records are incomplete. The full legal name must be used to enroll students. At the judgment of the principal a student maybe temporarily enrolled for a period of 30 days in order for the family to secure a certified copy of a birth certificate. Children of International Service members on Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) with the U.S. State Department should use their passports in lieu of Birth Certificates which are frequently printed in the native language of the Country of Origin.
- Certificates of Immunization: All students, regardless of grade level, must present a Mississippi Certificate of Compliance MS Form 121 concerning immunizations. Immunization certificates may be obtained from the Lowndes County Health Department or a doctor. Active Duty personnel can obtain MS Form 121 by contacting the base Health Clinic/Immunizations at 662-434-2273.
- Social Security Numbers: Parents are asked to furnish each student’s Social Security number, which may be used as a computer identification number throughout the child’s school career/enrollment. A space for the Social Security number is provided on the student information sheet. In general ONLY the International Service member is provided an SSN upon arrival in the United States. Children of International Service Members will be issued a Student ID # upon enrollment after presenting a current Passport to the School or District.
- Verification of Residence: In Mississippi, Parents/Legal Guardians, who are seeking to enroll students must provide documentation that is 30 days old or less to verify that each student resides with the Parent/Legal Guardian and is within the Local Education Agency’s District boundaries at the beginning of the current school year. All students must provide the required documentation to verify residency each year. However, students approved for legal transfer from another school district are exempt from this residency process. For more information on Legal Transfers between School Districts contact your installation School Liaison prior to arrival.
Proof of Residency
Two current proofs of residency (one of which must have been issued within the last 30 days) indicating that both child and parent reside in the District.
Acceptable Proofs of Residency include the following:
One current utility bill (cable, water, electricity, gas, landline phone)
AND one of the following:
- Homestead Exemption
- Mortgage or Lease Agreement
- Drivers License or Voter Registration Card
- Vehicle Registration
*The name and address must be the same on BOTH documents. Military Service Members can also provide:
- A Letter from the Base Housing Office stating that they are on the waiting list for housing.
- A receipt from TLF the Magnolia Inn on base.
- The top sheet of their orders which shows that they are now attached to Columbus AFB. The School Liaison advises that only the top sheet be provided as Orders are a sensitive document; the details of which the Local Education Agency/District does not need to know.
- If you need assistance please don’t hesitate to contact your School Liaison.
School Busing to-and-from the installation is available for both Columbus Municipal and Lowndes County school districts. When enrolling your child in either district be sure to inform school staff that you live on base. For more information please contact your School Liaison 662-434-2792 OR the Base Housing Office 662-434-8213
Aberdeen School District (City of Aberdeen)
Columbus Municipal School District (City of Columbus)
Lowndes County School District (Caledonia, New Hope, West Lowndes)
Starkville-Oktibbeha School District
Mississippi State School for Math & Science (Applications Required)
Monroe County School District (Hamilton, Hatley, Smithville)
West Point Consolidate School District
The School Liaison recommends contacting the private school to arrange a Campus Tour or attending an annual Open House to learn more about any Private School you are interested in applying to. Be sure to ask if the School is Accredited, the Extent of Teacher Credentialing, Extra-Curricular/Athletic Eligibility and what Scholarships/Tuition Payment and Assistance options are available.
Annunciation Catholic, Columbus MS
Columbus Christian Academy, Columbus MS
Heritage Academy, Columbus MS
Oak Hill Academy, West Point MS
Victory Christian Academy, Columbus MS
Organizations for Private Schools
Mississippi Association of Private Schools (MAIS)
Association of Independent Schools Directory
Private School Review for MS
Compulsory School Age Attendance
In Mississippi your child MUST start school in the year when he or she will be Age 6 (six) on or before 1 September. Your child must continue to attend school and comply with the homeschool law at least until the year when he or she will be Age 17 (seventeen) on or before 1 September.
The Compulsory School Attendance law also applies to any child who is less than 6 years of age on or before 1 September if the child is enrolled in a full-day public school kindergarten program. While Pre-Kindergarten & Kindergarten are not compulsory grades in Mississippi when the Parent/Legal Guardian opts to enroll the child in Pre-Kindergarten (age 4) or Kindergarten (age 5) all compulsory attendance laws apply. In addition once started the child must complete the school year. Withdrawing the child from school part way through the year is not permitted for Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten.
Complying with Mississippi’s Homeschool Law
Each year on or before 15 September, you must submit a Certificate of Enrollment. To obtain the Certificate of Enrollment contact the School Attendance Officer for the public school district that your child would otherwise attend. Prior to submitting your Certificate of Enrollment to the Attendance Officer make a copy for your records. If submitting your Certificate in-person request a document receipt. If mailing your Certificate it is strongly advised that you use Certified Mail-Return Receipt in order to have proof of mailing.
Local Attendance Officers
SAO: Polly Dentry
Address: 2217 7th Street North Columbus, MS 39705
Ph: 662-243-1677 Fx: 662-243-1677
SAO: Janice Logan
Address: 3419 New Hope Road Columbus, MS 39702
SAO: Nicole Bryant
Address: 215 Hemlock Street Columbus, MS 39702
The Importance of Record Keeping
While it is true that Mississippi does not have teacher qualifications for homeschooling, or require standardized testing, specific subjects, curriculum content, or even a set number of days of instruction, for homeschooled children; parents/legal guardians are strongly advised to maintain detailed records of their homeschooling program. Such records will be vital if you ever face an investigation regarding your homeschool. Your student will also need to furnish proof of education for any of the following: reenrollment in another school district, military entrance, college applications, vocational-technical programs, work permit, or driver’s license permit.
Local Homeschool Groups
Columbus AFB Homeschooling
Find them on Facebook OR connect on the Base App 14 FTW
CHELC (Christian Home Educators of Lowndes County
Starkville Open Homeschool
Find them on Facebook
The Wild Magnolia Tribe
Find them on Facebook
Starkville Christian Home Educators (SCHE)
Magnolia State Home Educators
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 228-380-0431
Mississippi Homeschool Life, LLC
Organizations for Homeschooling
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
Home School Laws by State
Online Homeschooling Options
Connections Academy K-12th
No matter what direction you choose after high school it is essential to take the time to research the career field(s) you are interested in. You should identify the academic degree(s), as well as the professional license(s), certification(s), and work experience, that is required for employment. Part-time work or summer jobs, internships paid or unpaid, volunteer and missionary work, along with hobbies, extra-curricular activities, and athletics, can assist you in developing your goals. Visit colleges and universities, attend any college and career fair at your school or in your community. Look for early learning opportunities such as May-mester, Early College, Dual, or Concurrent Enrollment as well as Summer Programs. Contact the school’s Admissions Office, or your local Military Recruiting Office. Likewise establish and keep the lines of communication open with your High School Guidance Counselor & Athletic Director. Remember your installation School Liaison Specialist, Admissions Officers, Military Recruiters, High School Counselors and Athletic Directors want to hear from you!
Staying on Track
High School is typically a four year journey. It requires patience, support, and encouragement to successfully reach graduation. Parents/Legal Guardians and Students need to examine not only immediate needs but also mid-range and long term goals. Let’s be honest military living presents both threats and opportunities which can impact a student’s learning and overall academic progress. It is not uncommon for Youths and Parents/Legal Guardians to have divergent visions of what the future should hold.
Military families need to keep the following in mind when they have a high school student: Most recruiters, colleges, and universities, focus on the sophomore (10th) and Junior (11th) years of high school. If you will have a change in duty station while your son or daughter is in high school be sure to get transcripts, any reference letters from teachers or coaches, along with contact information, prior to departure. This documentation will be essential for any future admission or scholarship application.
National Dropout Prevention Center DropoutPrevention.org
Mississippi Dept. Education 2019 Dropout Prevention & Restructuring Guide
Additional MS State Initiatives http://dropoutprevention.org/tag/mississippi/
General Educational Development (GED) tests https://ged.com/
Find Your Postsecondary Option
Make a plan with your high school student. Revisit and revise the plan as needed. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Your School Liaison is glad to be of service.
College Navigator https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
Council for Higher Education Accreditation https://www.chea.org/
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP) https://www.asvabprogram.com/option-ready
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps-ROTC
- Army-West Point https://www.westpoint.edu/
- Navy/Marine Corps - Annapolis https://www.usna.edu/homepage.php
- Air Force https://www.usafa.af.mil/
- Coast Guard https://www.uscga.edu/
- Merchant Marine https://www.usmma.edu/
College Entrance Exams
The purpose of college entrance exams is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college, by providing colleges and universities with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. College admissions officers assess applicants by using a multifactorial process. Admissions Officers will look at standardized test scores, your high school grade-point-average (GPA), the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors, extra-curricular activities, admission interviews, and personal essays. In short all the information you included in your application packet. Word to the wise many colleges and universities are now scanning an individual applicant’s social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, QZone, Tumblr, Instagram, & Twitter…to name but a few.
- American College Testing (ACT) http://www.act.org/
- PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10
- Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat
- Advanced Placement (A.P.) Exams https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/
- eKnowledge SAT/ACT Prep Project http://www.eknowledge.com/columbus
- The Princeton Review https://www.princetonreview.com/site-map
- ASVAB Practice Tests https://www.asvabpracticetests.com/
- Study.com https://study.com/
Funding Post-Secondary Education
In a perfect world personal finances and financial condition would not be a barrier for an otherwise qualified student to attend their desired college or vocational program. However, the cost of post-secondary education continues to increase annually. This expense is impacting families nationwide.
Here again families need to make a plan. Parents and Youths need to communicate on a regular basis and revise the plan as needed. It is best to start early and seek guidance before challenges arise.
Types of Funding
Grants are typically available to students based on student need, school cost, and/or enrollment status. Grants do not have to be repaid.
Scholarships come from many different places including national, state, public and private sources. Scholarship money can be awarded based on a variety of factors such as financial need, academic or athletic achievement, program of study, and background. Every scholarship has its own set of criteria. Scholarships do not have to be repaid.
Loans are borrowed funds that must be repaid with interest. Students may take out loans themselves or Parents may borrow money to pay for the education expenses of a dependent undergraduate student. Parents may also be co-signers on a loan taken out by the Student. Maximum loan amounts increase with each year of completed study. Often times, repayment is deferred until after graduation, withdrawal, or termination of attendance. Federal loans and some state financial aid programs, require the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Work Study funds are paid by the school for on-campus or community-based employment. The money received can only be used for education expenses. Ask questions to ensure that you know what qualifies as an education expense.
Private Aid is financial assistance provided by a private business or other organization. Many Fortune 500 companies provide aid to students. Both Parents and Students to check with their current and former employer to see if such funding is available.
Special Aid is funding for unique groups of students, such as veterans, minorities, individuals with disabilities, civic/volunteer groups, or faith based affiliation.
Early College High School is an academic program that allows high school or even younger students to earn up to two years of college credit and/or and associate arts degree which can then be transferred to a four year college, university, or vocational training program. Most Early College programs are host by your local Community College in partnership with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and the State Department of Education.
In our area East Mississippi Community College hosts an Early College program. They also offer summer programs for college credit and a May-mester spring program.
In-State Tuition is when the college, university, or vocational program, offers a tuition discount to residents of the State. State laws vary as to the length of time a student needs to be living in the State in order to qualify as a resident. Likewise each state has different laws which may or may not consider the unique circumstances of a military-connected child or a veteran.
Out-of-State Tuition is when the college, university, or vocational program charges a higher rate of tuition because the Student is considered a non-resident of the state. It is essential to speak with Admissions Officers at the post-secondary program to know the true cost of enrollment.
Federal Student Aid may offer more favorable terms than a private loan. The U.S. Department of Education administers several major student aid programs. There is a lifetime cap on the total amount of federal student loans you can take out. You DON’T want to hit the cap before you finish your education. When planning for your future career keep in mind both your undergraduate and graduate school requirements. https://studentaid.gov/
ACE Military Guide the American Council on Education has a guide to help postsecondary schools grant all possible credit for military training. Do not assume that the school’s Admission’s Officer will be familiar with this guide. Present it to them https://www3.acenet.edu/militaryguide/CourseSearch.cfm
GI Bill provides educational assistance to service members, veterans, and their dependents https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/
Tax Benefits for Higher Education there are number of tax provisions to assist students and parents with financing a postsecondary education. IRS Publication 970 is an additional resource to aid in your planning. https://www.irs.gov/
The College Savings Plan Network is a clearing house for information on current college savings programs. https://www.collegesavings.org/
Student Veterans of America-SVA is a non-profit 501(c)(3)coalition of student veteran groups on campuses worldwide. SVA’s Connect Alumni program can put you in touch with veterans from the school you are considering. https://studentveterans.org/
Personal Financial Counselor –PFC can help service members and their families address financial challenges in a positive way and create budgets that will allow you to meet any future goal such as pay for college, purchasing a car, or buying a home.
The PFC for Columbus AFB is located in the Airman & Family Readiness Center. Please contact the PFC
Commercial: (662) 434-2790
FAX: (662) 434-2483
Additional information can be found on the PFC’s webpage
Local Post-Secondary Education Options
Columbus AFB Education Center https://www.columbusafbliving.com/education-center/
East Mississippi Community College http://www.eastms.edu/
Saint Leo University https://www.saintleo.edu/columbus-education-center
Mississippi University for Women MUW (a.k.a. The Blue or The W) https://www.muw.edu/
Mississippi State University (Starkville, Meridian, Online) https://www.msstate.edu/
COVID-19 Update: State Policy Responses and Other Executive Actions to the Coronavirus in Public Schools
State Education Policy Tracking https://www.ecs.org/state-education-policy-tracking/
State Education Policy Watch List https://www.ecs.org/state-education-policy-watch-list/
- Military Installations: www.MilitaryInstallations.dod.mil
- U.S. Department of Education https://www.ed.gov/
- Department of Defense Educational Activity DoDEA https://www.dodea.edu/index.cfm
- Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) http://www.mic3.net/
- Mississippi Department of Education http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/
- Common Core State Standards Initiative http://www.corestandards.org/For curriculum Mississippi is a Common Core State
For situational awareness the U.S. States & Territories that have NOT adopted Common Core curriculum are: Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas & Virginia. Education is a state right, therefore each State is permitted to determine curriculum content, assessment standards, teacher qualifications, and high school graduation requirements. Parents/Guardians need to bear in mind that while the Department of Defense generally endorsed Common Core curriculum standards because it was seen as one way to ease transitions for military-connected students DoDEA is not a state. Thus the extent to which Department of Defense Educational Activity schools utilize Common Core or adhere to the Military Interstate Compact Agreement MIC3 varies.
- Greater Columbus Learning Center (Partnership with United Way of Lowndes County) https://www.uwlc-ms.org/greater-columbus-learning-center
- Columbus AFB Library https://www.columbusafbliving.com/library/
- Columbus-Lowndes Public Library http://www.lowndes.lib.ms.us/services.html
- Imagination Library https://imaginationlibrary.com/
- Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce Education Committee https://clchamber.org/get-involved/committees/
- Mississippi Humanities Council https://mshumanities.org/
- Mississippi Public Broadcasting https://www.mpbonline.org/
Academic Support (Tutoring)
- Tutor.com https://military.tutor.com/home
- Lexile.com https://lexile.com/
- Starfall.com https://teach.starfall.com/lv/info/about
School Search Engines
- Great Schools https://www.greatschools.org/
- School Quest https://www.militarychild.org/programs/schoolquest-helps-military-families-manage-school-moves
- Private School Review https://www.privateschoolreview.com/mississippi/school-memberships
- School Niche https://www.niche.com/
- College Navigator https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- Military Impacted Schools Association https://militaryimpactedschoolsassociation.org/
- Military Child Education Coalition https://www.militarychild.org/
- Anchored4Life https://www.trevorromain.com/
- MilitaryOneSource https://www.militaryonesource.mil/
- National Military Family Association https://www.militaryfamily.org/
- Mississippi Department of Human Services https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/
- Sesame Street for Military https://sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org/
For EFMP Families
- Learning Disabilities Association of America https://ldaamerica.org/
- National Center for Learning Disabilities https://www.ncld.org/
- Parent to Parent USA (P2P USA) https://www.p2pusa.org/
- National Organization for Rare Disorders https://rarediseases.org
- Disability Rights of Mississippi http://www.drms.ms/
- Special Education https://www.specialedconnection.com/LrpSecStoryTool/splash.jsp
- Air Force Exceptional Family Member Program https://www.afpc.af.mil/Benefits-and-Entitlements/Exceptional-Family-Member-Program/
- Columbus AFB EFMP Family Support
Commercial: (662) 434-3323
FAX: (662) 434-2483
Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
School Locator / Maps to Schools
Columbus Municipal School District-CMSD
District Office – Brandon Central Service Center
Superintendent Dr. Cherie Labat
Address: 2630 McArthur Drive, Columbus, MS 39705
Ph. 662-241-7400 Fx. 662-241-7453
Columbus High School
Principal Lori Cargile
Address 215 Hemlock Street Columbus MS 39702
Ph. 662- 241-7200 Fx. 662-241-7205
Principal Kimberly Gardener
Address 175 Hwy 373 Columbus MS 39702
Ph. 662-241-7300 Fx. 662-241-7305
Cook Elementary-Fine Arts Magnet
Principal Billie Smith
Address 2217 7th Street North Columbus MS 39705
Ph. 662-241-7180 Fx. 662-241-7182
Fairview Elementary-Aerospace & Science Magnet
Principal Dr. Melinda Robinson
Address 255 Airline Road Columbus MS 39705
Ph. 662-241-7140 Fx. 662-241-7141
Franklin Elementary-Medical Sciences & Wellness Magnet
Principal Tawan Williams
Address 501 3rd Avenue North Columbus MS 39701
Ph.662-241-7150 Fx. 662-241-7152
Sale Elementary-International Studies Magnet
Principal Dr. Aaron Lee
Address 520 Warpath Road Columbus MS 39701
Ph. 662-241-7260 Fx. 662-241-7261
Stokes Beard Elementary-Technology & Communication Magnet
Principal Dr. Tanesha Jennings
Address 311 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Columbus MS 39701
Ph. 662-241-7270 Fx. 662-241-7231
Columbus Success Academy
Principal LaShanda Garrett
Address 1425 North 10th Avenue Columbus MS 39701
Ph. 662-241-7250 Fx. 662-241-7392
McKellar Technology Center
Director Chris Bray
Address 810 North Browder Columbus MS 39702
Ph. 662-241-7290 Fx. 662-241-7293
Lowndes County School District-LCSD
Superintendent Sam Allison
Address 1053 Highway 45 South, Columbus, MS 39701
Ph. 662- 244-5000
School Attendance Officer (SAO) for Lowndes County
SAO Polly Dentry PDentry@mdek12.org
Address 2217 7th Street North Columbus, MS 39705
Ph. 662-243-1677 Fx. 662-243-1677
School Attendance Officer (SAO) for Lowndes County
SAO Janice Logan email@example.com
Address 3419 New Hope Road Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662-328-1119 Fx. N/A
School Attendance Officer (SAO) for Lowndes County
SAO Nicole Bryant firstname.lastname@example.org
Address 215 Hemlock Street Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662-241-7200 Fx. N/A
Caledonia High School
Principal Mr. Gregory Elliott
Address 111 Confederate Dr. Caledonia MS 39740
Ph. 662-356-2001 Fx. 662-356-2036
Caledonia Middle School
Principal Karen Pittmann
Address 105 Confederate Dr. Caledonia MS 39740
Ph. 662-356-2042 Fx. 662-356-2045
Caledonia Elementary School
Principal Roger Hill
Address 9509 Wolfe Rd, Caledonia, MS 39740
Ph.662- 356-2050 Fx. 662- 356-2065
New Hope High School
Principal Matt Smith
Address 2920 New Hope Rd, Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662- 244-4701 Fx. 662- 244-4725
New Hope Middle School
Address 3419 New Hope Road, Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662- 244-4740 Fx. 662- 244-4758
New Hope Elementary
Principal Dr. Christy Adams
Address 199 Enlow Drive, Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662- 244-4760 Fx. 662- 244-4775
West Lowndes High School
Principal Stefanie Jones
Address 644 South Frontage Road, Columbus, MS 39701
Ph. 662- 244-5070 Fx. 662- 327-3353
West Lowndes Elementary
Principal Robert Sanders
Address 1000 Gilmer-Wilburn Road, Columbus, MS 39701
Ph. 662- 244-5050 Fx. 662- 328-2912
Lowndes County Alternative School
Principal Antonio Magee
Address 3419 New Hope Road, Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662- 244-5060 Fx. 662- 327-4857
LCSD Career & Technical Center
Address 1085 Lehmberg Road, Columbus, MS 39702
Ph. 662- 244-5022 Fx. N/A