The Challenges of Supporting Highly Mobile, Military-ConnectedChildren in School Transitions

"The Challenges of Supporting Highly Mobile, Military-ConnectedChildren in School Transitions," written by Elizabeth Daniel, Maria Jose Meza-Cuadra, Meridith Roy, Billy Sahachartsiri, and Meghan Snyder, analyzes the current state of school transitions and military-connected students (Grades K-12). The report was produced for the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC) and with the support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Military-connected students, predominately with parents serving active duty, move approximately six to nine times from kindergarten to their high school graduation. Over the past 16 years, efforts to ease the impact of multiple school transitions have seen some success, but significant challenges remain. As military children move around the country and even the world, they enter and leave schools that have different cultures, curricula, standards, course offerings, schedules, and graduation requirements. he structures, curriculum, standards, and priorities for public education remain a very local affair in the United States—and military-connected students experience that variety as well as its complexity at each move. The result for students is that these moves come with a unique set of challenges within and beyond the classroom.

This report studies how school policies, practices, processes, programs, and systems currently affect the school transition experience of military-connected children. CPRL conducted a comprehensive literature review and gathered insights from conducting more than 70 interviews of school personnel, district administrators, parents, students, and other stakeholders to inform the findings. The report describes transition challenges identified by military-connected students and their parents, particularly administrative, social-emotional, academic, and multi-agency challenges. The report then presents promising practices and potential solutions in the areas of data tools, institutional structures, and highly-skilled personnel.