• This is the second installment of a series of tips for military families. Stay tuned throughout April, as FOX Fan celebrates the military child!
Life in a military family offers extraordinary opportunities and experiences, but also many challenges and sacrifices along the way.
Growing up as a military-connected child means moves and deployment, transitions and new locations. Military-connected children move an average of seven times during their elementary and high school years, so it is important that families and educators have the tools and knowledge to make each transition a success.
Here are some tips and strategies to ensure a smooth move for the entire family:
Be Your Own Best Advocate
• Watch for all registration dates, times, and places.
• Visit your new school before classes begin, or have your child shadow for a day in the new class.
• Visit with new teachers if you have not already had a one-on-one conference. Ask how you and the teacher can work together to support your child’s learning.
• Know the school calendar for both the current school and any potential new schools.
• Keep an updated “student portfolio” for each child so you will have important information stored in the event of a move. Make sure to include recommendations, transcript copies, extracurricular participation, course descriptions, special recognitions, health records, and test scores.
• Notify the schools as soon as you have an indication of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move.
• Keep your child informed and engaged if you know a move may be on the horizon.
• Make sure to stay aware of entrance, standardized testing, and immunization requirements, as those may change from year to year and location to location.
• Check with your new school district to see what services they offer new students.
• Get connected with other military families in your new community to learn from their experiences and tap into their knowledge.
• Take advantage of the resources and services that currently exist for military families.
SchoolQuest™ — The Military Child Education Coalition’s™ SchoolQuest™ is an innovative, free online tool that helps parents and students match their needs with new schools during relocation. The service provides information including school contacts, academic calendars, state testing guidelines, transition advice, and much more for the schools that serve your future military community. It also generates a student-specific report and creates an online “virtual” portfolio to record the student’s current achievement and needs.
Ask Aunt Peggie — “Aunt Peggie” is a former military-connected child who attended nine schools by grade 12. Combined with her 34 years experience in school administration and the classroom, Aunt Peggie is an expert on all things military and education. She now uses her expertise and first-hand experience to serve as a resource for families and educators around the world. Email your questions to Aunt Peggie at email@example.com.
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Dr. Mary Keller has served as Executive Director of the Military Child Education Coalition™ (MCEC)™ since 2000. The Military Child Education Coalition™ (MCEC)™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, worldwide organization that identifies the challenges the face the highly mobile military-connected child, increases awareness of those challenges in military and educational communities, and initiates and implements programs to meet the challenges. Their goal is to level the educational playing field for all military-connected children, including active duty, National Guard, and Reserves.
Have more questions? Contact the Military Child Education Coalition at (254) 953-1923 or visit www.militarychild.org.