When you get ready to head back to school, there is a never ending list of stuff to do, buy, and say. If you can get by without running to the store daily for “just one more thing” you are an organization queen!
For military families, there are a few extras to add to the list of things to do and say. These things might be taken care of in DoDEA schools or in heavily military communities, but it never hurts to cover all your bases.
Things Every MilFam Should Tell Their Teachers
Last Duty Station
Sure, this might be pretty clear based on your child’s incoming transcripts. You should still let your child’s teacher know where you are coming from.
While many states use Common Core State Standards or something similar, it’s not required. So learning standards and sequences can be slightly different state to state. If your child’s teacher knows where you’re coming from, they will be able to do a little homework and find out what your kiddo might already know.
This will help them with lesson planning, learning goals, and reteaching techniques.
Your child is probably brand new to this school unless you lived here before. That means there is no history to fall back on for the teachers and staff. They can’t just ask last year’s teacher about XYZ.
Help your child’s teacher learn a little bit more about your kiddo. Pass on the contact info for your last school or teacher, if possible. Share a quick letter or summary of what your child has experienced. Be sure to note any instances that have been super helpful for your child or that have caused distress. Your new teacher won’t know unless you tell them!
Your Contact Info
It’s very likely that you are still house hunting or settling into your new home. This could mean that you don’t have cell phones yet, especially if you are OCONUS or returning to the states. There might not be a reliable way to contact you yet.
Share whatever contact info you have with the teacher ASAP. It could be an email, office number, sponsor’s number, or temporary lodging room phone. Whatever you have, it’s important that you pass this onto the teacher. If something comes up in the first few days or weeks, you want them to be able to get a hold of you.
Short Term Assignments
Our soldiers seem to get a lot of schools sometimes! This can mean that your children will only be in a location for a few months.
When you know that your child will be moving mid-year or after a little while, let the teacher and school know. This can help with planning classrooms and assignments. Plus, if you know where your follow-on duty station is, your child’s teacher might be able to start prepping them for their course work there.
Deployments and TDY
The big D is approaching and your child’s teacher needs to know! Try to share as much as possible while still respecting OPSEC and PERSEC.
The main reason to share this is so that your child’s teacher can alert you to any major changes in behavior or academics. Often children behave and react differently at school. So the teachers could pick up on these indicators of stress and distress. Then you can all work together to help your child.
Giving the school a heads up about the homecoming window is also helpful. They might be able to excuse any absences related to homecoming and reintegration. Then you can feel confident keeping your children home when your spouse returns.
If you are a mid-year mover or know you’ll be pulling your children early next May, it’s helpful to let the school know as soon as possible.
There are different rules and regulations about when military families can withdraw a student from school. Talk to your local School Liaison Officer or district office to find out more information.
Your school will also need to communicate with the next school about records, grades, and education plans. By sharing your PCS information early, it will help smooth the transition process later.
What do you always share with your child’s teacher? Tell us in the comments!
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