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Helping Your Children Change Schools

Frequent moving to new duty stations is fact of military life, and your child will be asked to respond to the routines and demands of military life as well. Being prepared to help your school-age children change schools can go a long way to helping them adjust to their new environment in healthy ways. Parent preparation can mean a smooth school move for your children from one school system to the next.

When making moves within the continental United States, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children addresses educational transition issues of military families. Adopted by all states and the District of Columbia, the Interstate Compact replaces varying individual state education policies that affect transitioning military dependent children and supports uniform treatment for these students as they transfer between school districts and states. The Interstate Compact covers all schools, including Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA, schools.

Your school liaison can assist with your child’s school transition.

School liaisons are your primary point of contact for all school-related matters, especially a school transition. The school liaison at your current installation can connect you to your new installation school liaison who will help smooth the transition to your child’s new school. Let your school liaison help you and your family navigate school selection and youth sponsorship during this time of change.

The Interstate Compact addresses educational transition issues of military families such as eligibility, enrollment, placement and graduation, making it easier for military children to enroll in needed classes, play sports and graduate on time. Here are some of the ways states are helping you make a smooth move for your children.

Immediate enrollment

When leaving your school district, you can get unofficial records to carry to your new school. Your student will be able to enroll without delay, even before the official transcript arrives. If your child needs additional immunizations, you can enroll and take care of these requirements within 30 days.

Placement and attendance support

Your children will be placed in appropriate required classes, advanced placement and special-needs programs while awaiting evaluation at their new school. That means your child won’t be put in a “holding class” while your new school is taking the time to assess him or her. The interstate compact also enables a student to miss school for military-related reasons or to request excused absences before, during or after a deployment.

Special education services

If your student is covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, federal law protects your child’s right to receive the same services identified in his or her existing individual education program, or IEP. The receiving school may perform subsequent evaluations to ensure appropriate placement.

Extracurricular participation

If your child is eligible, the new school will facilitate participation in extracurricular activities even if application deadlines or tryouts have passed.

Graduation

Rest assured that your high schooler’s graduation will not be affected. Here are some examples of how the Interstate Compact assists with checking off graduation requirements:

  • Course waivers: If your child has already completed similar coursework, the new school shall waive courses required for graduation.
  • Exit exams: The new school district shall accept your child’s exit exams and achievement tests required to graduate from his or her 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.

School liaisons

School liaisons are located at every installation and are especially helpful in dealing with your school transition issues. This local resource has well-established relationships with school administrators, district officials and state departments of education and can help with your transition needs. School liaisons understand the military experience and are here to help with your child’s move to a new school. Contact the school liaison at your acquiring installation for help with:

  • School options and programs
  • School and community information nearby
  • Compliance with the Interstate Compact
  • Youth programs inside and outside of school

You can also call Military OneSource to connect to an education consultant for help with everything from tutors to tuition. Don’t wait until the move occurs. Call 800-342-9647 or set up a live chat today. OCONUS/International? View calling options.

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