Memorial Day is the official day on which the United States (U.S.) honors and remembers those who have died in active military service. As we prepare to gather with family and friends, it’s also a good time to review supports available to military families and their children in Ohio’s schools.
About 34,000 students in Ohio are children from military families. Children in military families are much more likely than other children to face relocation and school change — and the accompanying social and emotional consequences — during their primary and secondary educations. However, there are many resources available to school districts who have students from military families.
Ohio is a member of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (compact). The compact is an agreement among the states and the District of Columbia to ensure educational consistency for children in military families when they relocate. This OSBA fact sheet provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the compact. The compact’s website is http://www.mic3.net/index.html.
ODE offers additional information and resources for military families and districts at its Supporting Ohio’s Military Families page. Earlier this week, Paolo DeMaria, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, announced that 33 Ohio schools have received the Purple Star award for 2018. Schools that receive the award show a major commitment to students and families connected to the military.
The U.S. Department of Defense has produced the “Educator’s Guide to the Military Child During Deployment.” The guide includes specific and practical guidelines to help administrators, counselors, teachers and other school employees identify students’ reactions to their parent’s deployments and focus on appropriate intervention strategies.
Children from military families are included among the group of students identified as highly mobile children. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) issued a letter to state directors of special education in March 2013 to provide guidance and resources for school districts who are educating mobile students with disabilities. The letter focuses primarily on timely evaluations and provision of services when a highly mobile child transfers to a new school district.
Finally, the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a strong community of support for children of military families and ensuring that their academic, social and emotional needs are recognized and supported. To that end, MCEC offers a library, professional programs (some available online) and a national training seminar for professionals in districts serving these children.