Know Your Child’s Rights

As you prepare to uproot and replant your family again, it’s vital to know your child’s educational rights.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children: All 50 states have signed off on this agreement to ease the transition stress on military kids by ensuring they are not penalized or delayed by “inflexible administrative and bureaucratic practices.” The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) was formed to facilitate record transfers, class placements, and graduation requirements. If you’re hitting a wall and being told there is no space in classes for your child, they can’t work with your child’s IEP, or some other nonsense, the MIC3 has you covered. It also allows for waiving required courses already completed and enrolling students in the grade and level courses they’re entitled to be in.

For instance, one military family we know was told there wasn’t space available for their child’s needed AP classes. They directed the school to the details of the Interstate Compact, and magically their senior was enrolled. Of course, it’s not always so easy. If you’re running into challenges, visit the Military Child Education Coalition for specific help and in-depth resources, including School Quest, which breaks down information about school districts, specific schools, and requirements.

School Liaison Officer (SLO): I cannot toot the horns of SLOs enough. These professionals are the boots on the ground for military children and all matters educational. Each service varies in how SLOs are implemented; for instance, every Air Force base has a SLO POC. Their role is to smooth the way for any educational concerns you have, answer questions, and act as the go-between for schools and military families. We even had a SLO help set up standardized testing for our homeschooler in one location. Get in touch with your SLO!

Get Prepared

Research, research, research!

 Visit the below sites to gather information and prepare.

  • School Quest School Finder
  • SchoolDigger: research school rankings and other details
  • MilKidsEd: military spouse Meg Flanagan offers educational support and guidance for military families.
  • District and school websites for specific enrollment info, cut-off dates for teams and clubs

Plan to hand carry records.

This could expedite enrollment on the receiving end. Be proactive and request photocopies of records, transcripts, health records, report cards, and any other documentation as soon as feasible. Send anything electronically that you’re able. You are allowed access to your child’s school records through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Easing the Transition for Your High Schooler

In the flurry of paperwork and planning, it’s easy to forget that moving with a high school senior is a stressful, emotional time. You may wonder if you’re doing the right thing. I’m happy to tell you that our children have expressed thanks to us for making their educations a priority, despite the difficulties of moving during high school.

To make connections, reach out to the Student 2 Student program through the Military Child Education Coalition and contact the receiving base’s Youth Center, MWR, and chapel programs ahead of time for possible groups and gatherings. You may also find a friend of a friend through social media who can help ease the transition when you arrive.

While a PCS move with a high school senior is not anyone’s definition of ideal, know that other families have gone before you and there are more resources than ever to make this time easier. You can do this. I wish you good luck!

Have you ever moved with a high-schooler? What would you add?

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