When moving to a new duty station means going to a new state as well as a new school for your kids, rest assured that the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children is designed to make the transition smooth. The Department of Defense, in collaboration with the National Center for Interstate Compacts and the Council of State Governments developed the compact to address the educational transitions for military families. All 50 states have committed to helping your children enroll in school, register for the classes they need, and graduate on time.
Through the compact, states are working together to provide a consistent set of policies that will make getting started in a new school, joining extracurricular activities and meeting graduation requirements as easy as possible for military children. Military parents can help their families access this support with a few simple steps.
Help your family benefit from the Interstate Compact during a military move
Enrollment: The compact makes it much simpler to get started at a new school.
- School records: You can obtain a copy of your child’s school records from their old school to bring to the new one. Use these until the official records arrive.
- Immunizations: You have 30 days from the time of enrollment to give your child any new required immunizations.
- Kindergarten and first grade: Children can continue in their current class year, even if the new school has a different age requirement.
Consultants Support Families Changing Schools
If your child is changing schools, an education consultant can answer your questions and guide you to help for a smooth transition.
Placement: Your child’s progress in their previous school will be recognized.
- Course and program placement: If your child is already in a program, such as advanced placement, the new school must honor that if they have an equivalent.
- Placement flexibility: Your child won’t have to repeat basic coursework if they’ve taken something similar already.
- Attendance: The compact enables a student to miss school for military-related reasons.
- Absence related to deployment: Students may request excused absences before, during and after the related deployment period.
Eligibility for activities: Your child’s eligibility for attending school and extracurricular activities won’t be affected.
- Enrollment: Your child can continue to attend their same school if they’re living with a relative, friend or non-custodial parent during the deployment. The guardian will, however, need a power of attorney to enroll or give permission to participate in school activities.
- Extracurricular activities: Even if tryouts or application deadlines have passed, the school will help make it possible for the child to participate.
Graduation: With the compact, graduation for kids in high school won’t be affected.
- Course waivers: If your child has already completed similar coursework, they can waive courses required for graduation at a new school.
- Exit exams: The new school district may accept your child’s exit exams and achievement tests required to graduate from their previous school.
- Senior-year transfers: If your student changes school during their senior year, the two school districts will work together to get a diploma from the former school to ensure on-time graduation.
The Interstate Compact also covers children with special needs changing schools
- Special education: If the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act covers your child, they have the right to comparable services provided by their most current Individualized Education Program, or IEP.
- Reevaluation: The new school system may reevaluate your child’s eligibility for special education services to determine a new IEP.
In addition to provisions in the Interstate Compact, Military OneSource offers these educational resources for families with special needs:
- The Education Directory for Children With Special Needs: The directory provides the information you need to make informed decisions about education and early intervention services.
- Exceptional Family Member Program: Your local installation EFMP Family Support staff can help you identify and access programs and services related to education, outreach, local school and early intervention services.
- Special Needs Consultants: Special needs consultants can be accessed through Military OneSource Exceptional Family Member Program Resources, Options and Consultations, or EFMP ROC. Consultants are available by phone or video to help you navigate the medical and educational needs of your family and connect you with military and community-based support.
If you want to schedule an appointment or have questions, Military OneSource has military-trained consultants in education and special needs. Call 800-342-9647 live chat at any time to schedule an appointment. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.