Module Overview: In this module School Liaisons learn about various military and nonmilitary resources available to help meet the unique needs of military-connected children and ensure their academic success. Connecting families, schools, and community groups to appropriate resources that offer targeted and actionable information is an integral part of the duties of the School Liaison. This module offers a general understanding of the common challenges that military-connected children face and provides School Liaisons the tools they need to offer solutions across a variety of audiences.
- Research has shown that school-connected students are more likely to succeed, exhibiting positive behavior and avoiding risky behavior.
- School Liaisons can improve school connectedness by helping parents and teachers to understand the importance of, and to encourage, high academic rigor and expectations, support for learning, positive adult-student relationships, and an environment of physical and emotional safety.
- There are important social and emotional indicators by age group to watch for in students that may be experiencing distress.
- Children with a family member in the National Guard or Reserves may experience unique challenges as a result of unexpected deployments or transitions.
- Academically, military-connected students are often very adaptive and savvy about adjusting to a new school.
- Important topics for School Liaisons to consider when working with families facing transfer include school schedules, graduation requirements, class sizes, curriculum standards, teacher qualifications, academic performance, and extracurricular activities.
- The military supports the success of military-connected children, youth, and families through a host of programs and services including everything from full-scale family centers at each installation to support programs such as tutoring, partnerships with community resources, afterschool services, supports for children with special needs, and psychological health supports.
- Each military branch has specifically designed mental health support programs with offerings for families and children.
- Afterschool programs and resources are critical to supporting the needs of military-connected students, as not only do they aid in socialization and integration, research shows afterschool activities reduce participation in risky behavior.
- Many afterschool programs, including school and military programs, offer additional academic support for school-age children that can be critical to ensuring their academic success.
- School Liaisons should participate in community groups, committees, and task forces that will provide timely updates on the most effective resources for installation families, districts, and the local community.
- According to the American Psychological Association, the best ways to help children cope during a parent’s deployment include helping the child keep up their routine, listening to the child’s concerns and responding accordingly, reassuring the child that the deployed parent is trained to do his or her job, and communicating in a way that the child will understand based on their age.
- School Liaisons should refer to key points that foster school connectedness for parents, teachers, and administrators included in the Military Child Initiative’s report “School Connectedness.”
- School Liaisons can help build important bridges of communication by reminding parents to inform their child’s school about changes in their families.
- Families are best served by School Liaisons who know where and how they can obtain up-to-date information.
Looking Forward: Next, learn about how School Liaisons can support military families that have children with special needs.