Even in a shifting pandemic environment, the Seasons of TransitionTM cycle continues for military-connected students. When a new situation means a new game plan, the strategies in Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers are still effective for healthy transitions. Here are some ways to adapt key strategies for each season:
Season of Leaving
- Taking any pandemic-related restrictions and limitations into account, include all the same key steps when making an Exit Plan.
- When gathering documents for the Education Binder, request or create electronic copies for easy sharing, including teacher-to-teacher letters.
- Take time to say goodbye. Make video calls, write letters, make goodbye cards or gifts for special friends and teachers.
Season of Arriving
- To establish the student-advocacy team when new students and parents can’t meet with teachers in person, introduce a student by email: Include any information normally shared in an initial meeting: how the student is handling the move, learning style, educational needs, concerns.
- Teachers and parents can follow up with phone calls to ask questions and share more complete information.
- When it’s not possible to share the physical Education Binder, share electronic versions of essential pages by email. Parents can let teachers know they have a complete record of the student and can provide more information as needed.
Season of Growing, Season of Thriving
- To establish a growing and thriving student, whether classes are in-person or online, it’s important to assess whether any struggles are caused by gaps and overlaps in curriculum, the student’s personal adjustment, or academic ability. This assessment can be complicated if the student is having trouble with virtual learning or having trouble making friends because of social distancing.
- In any learning environment, students should be encouraged to set academic and personal goals and to advocate for themselves in age-appropriate ways.
Storms of military life, deployment, combat injury, and loss, can occur in any season or any learning environment, and having a strong student-advocacy team is essential.
- Effective communication between parents and educators helps coordinate support for the student.
- Bring in additional members to the student-advocacy team as needed.
When in-person contact is limited or in virtual school situations, strategies can be adapted for any season or storm. Additionally, the provisions of the The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children are still in effect for military-connected students. For up-to date information about COVID-related changes in public and Department of Defense Education Activity schools, the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, provides regular updates at MIC3.net.
In changing school environments, the Seasons of TransitionTM are still a way of life for military-connected students and their families. Having an effective and adaptable game plan will make the best of any season.
Adapted from Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers by Amanda Trimillos, EdD, and Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman (2018, Elva Resa Publishing)
More about transitions in the COVID environment: