8 Steps for Smooth School Moves

1 Aug 2019

School is out! An exciting time when most kids are thinking about sleeping in and spending their days at the pool. However, for some military kids they are gearing up for yet another move and starting a new school. In fact, military children move between six and nine times during their educational careers from kindergarten through high school. Whether you are coming from overseas or across the country, or just the next state over, moving can be stressful. Below are 8 tips to ease the school transition.

1. Connect with Your School Liaison Officers (SLO)

SLOs are there to provide information and referral about schools and services that are available on and near the installation. They can also provide resources to help ease the anxiety/sadness a child may be feeling due to a move. You can contact your installation's school liaison to connect with the school liaison at your new location. You can also find each services school liaison directory at: www.dodea.edu/partnerships.

2. Create a Binder for School Records

Put important educational paperwork in a binder to hand carry with you to your next location. Keep each child's information in a separate binder of separate tab of the binder. Include an unofficial copy of school records, report cards, copies of birth certificates, immunization records, IEP's and/or 504's, and any records from specialists your child was seeing. Your SLO will have a checklist to help make this process easier.

3. Put Together a School Contact List

Have names, phone numbers, and email information from your child's old school on hand, in case the new school has questions that could assist in your child's education. For older students, especially high school students, compile contact information for teachers and coaches at the previous school who might be future references for your child.

4. Become Familiar with the School Curriculum

If the school knows what curriculum and textbooks were used at your previous location, it will help the administration in placing your child in the appropriate classes. This is especially beneficial for high school students. Write down the names of the books that your child used in his or her last school, or take a photo of the covers and table of contents as a starting point.

5. Get To Know Your New School Board

Getting to know your School Board will give you an insight into the district. Visit the district web page and look for school board or cabinet. View board agendas and minutes from past meetings. This will give you an idea of topics that are current for them (construction, safety etc).

6. Meet With The Special Education Director

If you have a child who has special needs, meeting with the Special Education Director will be beneficial. You are your child's biggest advocate and working with the Special Education Team will allow you to help shape their learning experience. Also, be sure to take advantage of any EFMP services that are available to you. Your school liaison can help you connect with the EFMP liaison.

7. Familiarize Yourself With The Interstate Compact

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is in place to help reduce transition issues. Your SLO can provide a copy of the Parent's Guide to The Compact or help you understand your state's Compact language.

8. Utilize All The Military Resources That Are Available To You

There is a plethora of military resources available to families. School Liaison Officers, Fleet and Family Support Centers, Military OneSource, Tutor.com, Military Child Education Coalition, and Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission are just a few of them. Contact your SLO for more resources.