EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ:  The week that begins the PARCC testing in the East Brunswick Public Schools is certainly tough on students, teachers, administrators and parents.  School counselors, too, have a big job ahead this week helping to provide accommodations and supporting the testing schedule.  Lots of numbers, computers, spreadsheets, and follow-up. However, that's nothing compared to what 4 EBHS counselors will experience next week when they travel to Parris Island, South Carolina to see what the United States Marine Corps boot camp is really like.  Parris Island gives standardized testing a whole new meaning.

East Brunswick counselors Lisa Nelson, Vanessa Amaturo, Bethany McAnneny, and Lauren Rice will attend this year's workshop after a grueling week walking through the PARCC.  They will join other educators from around the Garden State in an effort to understand what it means to be a Marine, both in body and in soul, and to grasp the commitment involved in training.    As part of the Marine Corps "Educators' Workshop," approximately 30 high school and post secondary educators from New Jersey will travel to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, the site of Marine boot camp, from April 11 until April 14. 

Lisa Nelson, who is concluding her second year as a Counselor at EBHS, is "interested in the daily routines of the recruits" and hopes that the workshop will "provide a better understanding of the recruitment process."  Similarly, her colleague Vanessa Amaturo, a third-year "vet" at EBHS, wants to know how the recruits are "prepared both physically and emotionally during the training" and how they are supported through the recruitment process.  Lara Rice, also in her third year at the high school, has the responsibility of coordinating recruiters' visits to EBHS as the counseling department's military liaison.  (Bethany McAnneny was not available for this interview.)

Sign Up for E-News

The Educators' Workshop is the Marine Corp's most extensive community relations venue, both financially and logistically.

Free-of-charge to its approximately 1,500 annual attendees from the 48 recruiting stations across the United States, the Workshop provides a condensed itinerary of what marine recruits experience during 13 weeks of boot camp, complete with classroom presentations and leadership exercises to leave its participants better mentors with an understanding of educational opportunities in the Marines.

Activities at the workshop include rappelling; participating in exercises led by a marine drill instructor; shooting an M4; navigating an obstacle course; visiting F/A-18 Hornet displays; walking through a CS gas chamber; observing swimming qualifications; and watching recruits graduate as Marines.

Educator participants are not required to partake in any of the itinerary's activities.  Educators receive professional development credits for attending the program.

*Along with the counselors, TAPinto East Brunswick will attend the program to follow the experiences of the teachers and to visit with local USMC recruits to discuss their experiences.  This is the first of several articles about the USMC Educators' Workshop Program and the commitment of our local educators to providing the best information they can to our students.