Army Child and Youth School Transition Services
What is it? Army Child and Youth School Transition Services consists of a variety of programs and initiatives that provide strategies and resources for garrisons, school districts, parents/guardians to face the changes associated with transitioning from one school to another in support of the Army’s mission.
What has the Army done? The Army School Transition Plan is designed to develop and implement strategies that prepare Army families for successful transition of more than 45,000 military connected students in the United States and school systems that support families of Soldiers deployed outside the United States. This support is key to improving quality of life of the mobile and rapidly changing Army of today. An infrastructure has been built to support school transitions since 1998 consisting of:
- School Transition Services. Designated as a core competency of Child and Youth Services to better address the many issues facing military connected transitioning school age students.
- School Liaison Officers (SLOs). Seven Army installations have hired SLOs to be primary advisors to garrison command staff, parents, and educators.
- School Transition Specialists. Hired at the seven Installation Management Agency offices to evaluate and work systemic school transition issues.
- Army Family Action Plan. Conducted Education Summits, focus groups, and research to complete school transition related issues raised at the Army Family Action Plan conferences.
- Army Senior Stabilization Policy for Soldiers with High School Seniors. Allows Soldiers to remain in current assignment to allow children to complete their senior year.
- Army In and Out Processing Protocol. Requires garrisons establish procedures that ensure Soldiers with school age children connect with garrison School Liaison Officers.
- Transition Counselor Institute. Provides professional development for counselors regarding education related issues resulting from frequent moves.
- Special Education Leadership Institute. Promotes awareness of amplified transition challenges of children with special needs.
- Student2Student. Establishes campus-based, student-led, and faculty- sponsored program that trains teams of peers to support transitioning students.
- Parent to Parent Cadre Teams. Establishes parent-centered initiative that empowers parents to be informed, positive, and proactive transition specialists at home.
- Secondary Education Transition Study Memorandum of Agreement. Encourages school districts to sign the agreement to develop reciprocal practices to support transitioning school-age students.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future? The STS plan was updated and distributed to Army instillations in December 2006. The plan includes six key components:
- Demographic information collection;
- Communication/marketing Strategy – information sharing;
- Professional development;
- Identification of stakeholder roles and responsibilities;
- Cost analysis of resources; and,
- Monitoring and evaluation.
Why is this important to the Army? The Army must ensure that its families are prepared for successful transitions from one location to another in support of the mobile and transforming Army. The School Transition Plan is designed to develop and implement school transition strategies that will assist the transition of more than 55,000 military-connected students in the Continental United States and outside the Continental United States school systems in to new locations. Better transitions mean a smoother move and settling in for the family, which in turn supports their stability and security. The Soldier, therefore, can concentrate upon the unit’s mission.
Websites: http://www.militarychild.org, http://www.militarystudent.org, http://www.dodea.edu, http://www.militaryimpactedschoolsassociation.org.