Strategies for School Liaisons
There are some key ways School Liaisons can effectively connect families and districts to the best available resources.
These modules are an important source of general information about the academic environment that supports military-connected children; however, the information changes often, especially information about local resources. School Liaisons are therefore encouraged to participate in community groups, committees, and task forces that will provide not only updates on the most effective resources for installation families but also information to districts and the local community about what military-connected students need.
When children’s lives change through moves and deployment—including reintegration—parents, guardians, teachers and schools can be strong supports helping to maintain emotional, social, and academic stability. However, even the most capable, committed parent requires additional resources to ensure the best educational experience for their child. School Liaisons can offer guidance and support to parents, helping them understand what behaviors they may observe in their children and where to find resources for support. Likewise, school leaders and teachers can benefit from obtaining relevant resources from School Liaisons to help understand and better serve military-connected students and families.
According to the American Psychological Association, the best way to help children cope during a parent’s deployment is to:
- help children keep up their routine;
- listen to the child’s concerns and respond accordingly;
- reassure them that the deployed parent is trained to do his/her job; and
- communicate in a way that the child will understand based on his or her age.
School Liaisons can also help create important bridges of communication by reminding parents to inform their child’s teacher and school administrators about changes in their families, so that the needs of their children are well supported.
In addition to these kinds of active supports, School Liaisons should be aware of and promote the resource “Building Resilient Kids,” a Web-based instructional course designed by the Johns Hopkins University Military Child Initiative. The course focuses primarily on students from military families and is directed at teachers and administrators to increase understanding of the military lifestyle as well as the social, emotional, and educational needs and challenges of military-connected students. The online course offers strategies used to improve outcomes for military-connected students as well as best practices for implementation and partnership building. (Link to this course provided in the Resources section.)