- School leaders need to be aware of how the experiences of military families create special challenges in the way students connect to the world, the social and emotional challenges they face, and the educational needs they have, according to District Administration.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act now requires schools to identify children in military families and provide support for students who face multiple school transitions in their lives as well as the stress of having one or both parents deployed for long periods of time.
- Some school districts with a high numbers of military-connected students are now employing “military family life consultants" to assist in school transitions or creating “buddy programs” to connect these students to their new students in an attempt to smooth the process.
Addressing the needs of transient populations is a challenge to any school district, but students from military families face — and create — additional challenges in educational settings. Students in military-connected families move an average of nine time during their school years, making it difficult to have any sort of consistency in their education. This factor has caused an increasing number of military families to turn to homeschooling in order to attain the level of flexibility and consistency they need.
Public schools need to find ways to address these concerns for the majority of military parents who choose public education. Counselors and advisors who are familiar with military practices can help provide that consistency to some extent because speak the language of military families, understand the unique culture of the military and are better able to connect to the growing number of resources designed to ease school transitions. They are also able to provide the additional support that military kids need as they face the uncertainties of military life.
Schools also need to be flexible in approaches to education, especially at the high school level where graduation requirements and course offerings can differ greatly from state to state. The use of computer course offerings such as Khan Academy, Duolingo or some virtual public schools can also help students complete course work in subjects such as foreign languages or higher-level math or science courses that may not be offered at their new school. School administrators also need to be willing to seek such solutions to make this flexibility possible. Fortunately, there are resources available for school superintendents who face these challenges.