District Administration November 2017 - 27

MAKING ROOM for the
Students whose parents serve at home and abroad
need academic flexibility and help reducing stress
By Lois Elfman

T

he life of a military family comes with a powerful
sense of patriotism and pride, but also definite, daily
challenges. Personnel are typically transferred every
two to three years, which means their children may
attend as many as nine schools during their lives. Add to that the
stress these students suffer when parents are deployed overseas,
are sent into combat or return home wounded.
Military-connected students-compared to civilian classmates-have moderately elevated rates of just about all risk
factors, including suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and bullying, according to a University of Southern California survey of
middle and high schools in that state.
The numbers are even higher for students whose parents
have been deployed to a combat zone. The problem stems from
civilian society's lack of awareness about the experiences of military families, says Ron Avi Astor, a professor of school behavioral
health at USC who led the survey.
"It's not military kids who are the problem," he says. "The
problem is most civilian schools do not have a keen awareness if
these children are in their schools or of what their families have
endured."

www.DistrictAdministration.com

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has been involved
in ongoing conflicts and has also responded to disasters around
the globe, says Astor, who heads a consortium of school districts
(DAmag.me/usc) working to improve services for military-connected students in Southern California.
ESSA now requires schools to identify students whose parents are active members of the military. Meanwhile, school
districts that cover military bases have developed supports that
include helping students transition to new schools, quick assessment tests, tutoring and school counselors trained in specific
types of social-emotional support.
Several organizations offer free or low-cost resources, which
may also be of interest to districts with only a few of these children.
"Whether we're at war or in peace times, school transition
issues are not going away," says Cindy Simerly, vice president of
fund development of the Military Child Education Coalition.
Family life consultants & lunch buddies
Behavioral policies guided by restorative practices can help military children acclimate and avoid at-risk behaviors, says Louis

November 2017 27


http://www.DAmag.me/usc http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
District Administration November 2017 - Cover2
District Administration November 2017 - 1
District Administration November 2017 - 2
District Administration November 2017 - 3
District Administration November 2017 - 4
District Administration November 2017 - 5
District Administration November 2017 - 6
District Administration November 2017 - 7
District Administration November 2017 - 8
District Administration November 2017 - 9
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District Administration November 2017 - Cover3
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