For students, a move to a new school can be rough. But for military kids, who may have to change schools every few years, it can be that much more difficult. So Monday, a group called the Military Child Education Coalition stopped in Colorado Springs to offer advice to faculty, teachers, and parents.
Education experts say the key to a military kid's success in school really depends on the parents' involvement in their education. One military mother, Victoria Rebman, says of her daugher, “We, as a family, had to decide whether to hold her back for a year or put her in private school.” For Rebman, getting her daughter into kindergarten wasn't exactly easy. She and her family were deployed to Turkey and received orders they would be sent back to the United States.
Moves like Rebman’s are common for military families. Education expert Mary Keller says they can be tough on a child's progress in school. “It's going to affect the continuity of instruction, their predictability of what is required, what programs are available.” In order to make the transition much easier for the family, experts say there are several steps parents can take.
First, get records. They include school transcripts, medical records, information on the student's activities, and even a xerox copy of textbooks.
Second, research ahead about the school the student will attend, such as curriculum requirements and testing. Parents can get help from a school liaison. “They can also help you look forward to the next location and make the smooth move happen to the whole family,” says Keller.
She also emphasizes parents should talk to their kids about the move and how to stay in contact with those they have met. She tells parents to encourage kids to make friends, not just with their peers, but also with the faculty.
Finally, extracurriculur activities always help with adjustment, too. “We know, hands down, that an involved parent makes a lifelong difference in their child as a learner,” says Keller.
Once the kids are in the new school, says parents should pay special attention to their kids' math and reading grades. They are accurate indicators of how well they're keeping up with the curriculum at their new school.
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