Whether they're at war or home with their families, military parents are finding ways to be involved in Clover Park Schools - and their children's educations.
They are taking on roles as PTA presidents, secretaries and community coordinators; volunteering time in the classroom; and fostering learning at home.
"What I see is parents who want to be involved," said Greenwood Elementary School principal Greg Wilson. "They have deployed spouses and while they are deployed, they want to be as involved as deeply as possible with their kids."
Sarah Fairweather, the district's Family and Community Partnership coordinator, said that across the country, time is a huge challenge for families. Complicating matters for schools on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is that students are constantly coming and going because of deployments and permanent change of station moves.
"We try to be aware of that and expand our definition of what involvement is," she said. "We're making progress in getting parents' voices heard in all of the schools."
Wilson said he is always aware that Greenwood's families can leave at any time - and do. Last year, the PTA president left halfway through the year.
"They do move, but we've been pretty fortunate in having some dedicated families step in," he said.
In return, Wilson said, new families bring in experiences from their previous schools.
When Greenwood was having some drop-off transition issues, some of the suggestions were borne of what parents had seen elsewhere: hanging tags on backpacks; signs in car windows; having kids open car doors. As a result, they were able to craft a new drop-off plan.
Such passion for the project was hardly a surprise to Wilson.
"Parents are parents no matter what their occupation is, and the first discussion every parent wants to have is student safety," he said.
Greenwood reported 4,222 volunteer hours last year - the second highest in the district.
That doesn't mean that the story is the same at every school, though.
Since taking over as principal of Beachwood Elementary School this year, Meghan Eakin has made boosting parental involvement a top priority. Her school's location on Joint Base Lewis-McChord North makes it the perfect place for a community hub, she said.
"We just want people to come here and be on our campus," she said, adding that Beachwood is building a family resource center. "We're trying to set up a welcoming environment so families can come in and help out."
And it's not just relatives who are welcome, either.
Soldiers from various brigades volunteer at the elementary schools on base: running field day, eating lunch with students, helping out at other events.
"Some of them are young adults who just get excited about being in schools and with the kids," Wilson said. "They don't even have kids, and they want to be here."