First Lady and Secretary Cardona visit to celebrate Month of the Military Child

Contributed by: Military Child Education Coalition

KNOB NOSTER, MO — First Lady Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Knob Noster Public Schools on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, to celebrate Month of the Military Child. They visited Whiteman Elementary School, located on Whiteman Air Force Base, home to the 509th Bomb Wing, which operates the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. They also attended Knob Noster High School’s “Purple Up Pep Assembly.”

The trip is part of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, a program that supports military families, veterans, and caregivers. The Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC) is proud to partner with Joining Forces and helped to connect Joining Forces with Knob Noster Public Schools.

“MCEC is honored to be a Joining Forces partner and to have the opportunity introduce Dr. Biden and Secretary Cardona to this exceptional school district that is home to many military students,” said Dr. Becky Porter, MCEC president and CEO.

While at Whiteman Elementary School, Biden and Cardona met with the Little Wingmen Preschool Program students and staff. Servicemembers and their families continue to place access to early childhood education among their top quality of life priorities, and military leadership continues to emphasize education as the number one readiness issue facing our armed forces. The Little Wingmen Preschool Program was established from a Department of Defense Educational Activity grant designed to address these issues while creating a high-quality, sustainable, and scalable Pre-K model that can be replicated across the country.

Knob Noster Public School Superintendent Dr. Jerrod Wheeler, a member of the MCEC Board of Directors, shared, “What a tremendous honor to join First Lady Biden and Secretary Cardona in celebrating April as Month of the Military Child.  With over 2 million military-connected students in our nation, it is critically important that we recognize that these children serve our country alongside their parents.  Through the work of MCEC and the Joining Forces initiative, we continue to ensure these students receive the additional supports they need to be successful, wherever they are stationed.”

At Whiteman Elementary several students from the MCEC Student 2 Student™ program participated in a small group discussion with Biden and Cardona. Students spoke about the challenges they face with transitioning in and out of schools.

MCEC® currently has Student 2 Student programs at more than 500 elementary, middle, and high schools. The program encourages teamwork between military and civilian students to welcome new students, support academic excellence, and ease transitions as students pass in or out of schools. Since its inception, the nonprofit has used Student to Student to provide thousands of military-connected children around the world with the tools needed to become college-, work-, and life-ready. Biden and Cardona finished their visit by attending and speaking at the Knob Noster High School “Purple Up Pep Assembly” to celebrate Month of the Military Child.