Hanscom AFB, Bedford High School strengthen partnership

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. –Town of Bedford officials unanimously approved a new Hanscom Air Force Base representative to the Bedford School Committee during a meeting April 25.

Kim Howell, a Hanscom AFB resident and U.S. Coast Guard family member, will serve a two-year term as a non-voting member of the committee representing the military-connected students who attend Bedford Public Schools and their families. 

“The creation of this position is a testament to the value Bedford places on military students and our community,” said Howell.

Howell, whose family has lived here for seven years, said she is passionate about advocating for her children as well as the needs of other military children.

She explained unique stressors such as transferring credits or standardized test requirements between school districts can burden military students when their families change locations, on top of the social aspect of constantly changing schools.

“There is real work involved with ensuring people feel included and know what resources are available to them,” said Howell.

Sarah McGinley, a former Hanscom AFB resident and Air Force family member who now resides in Bedford, previously held the school committee position before stepping down earlier this year to run for an elected seat. 

As the first-ever base representative on the committee, McGinley said the benefit of having a military-connected voice on the committee cannot be overstated. 

“Bedford is committed to ensuring that military families are celebrated and supported, and the creation of this position further illuminates that commitment,” she said.

In fact, the partnership between Hanscom Air Force Base and the Bedford Public School system is so unique that it may be the only one of its kind.

“As far as I know, this isn’t happening anywhere else in the Air Force,” said McGinley. “Our hope is that we provide a model for other districts to follow, where spouses like Kim and I can be a voice for their children as well.”

Howell’s appointment fittingly occurred during the Month of the Military Child, an annual observance that recognizes the unique sacrifices of military-connected children.

Bedford High School hosted its annual Purple Up breakfast April 14, where students and staff members wore purple to show their support for military-connected students.

Howell said she credits the success of her children, one a BHS graduate and the other a senior, in part to the support of their teachers and guidance counselors.

“My children have been through seven schools all together, and they’ve never had celebrations or acknowledgments before,” she said. “The staff at Bedford High School ensured my children got what they needed as military students.”

In her role, Howell will serve as another touch point for Hanscom families to stay connected to the surrounding community.

For additional information, or to contact the Bedford Public School Committee, visit www.Befordps.org, or email Kimberly_Howell@bedfordps.org.