By Stacy Huisman
Definition of a Military Connected Youth: A child, adolescent, or student with a close family member (parent, step parent, sibling, step-sibling, cousin) or friend serving in any branch of the United States Armed Forces and any status Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard.
Fact: There are 2,000,000 military-connected children in America; of those: • 1,381,584 of the military-connected children are 4-18 years old • Over 80% of these children – 1,105,267 students – attend PK-12 public schools
• Every school district in the country has military-connected students.
• Approximately 10-12% of military-connected students are served in special education programs. Fact: Active duty families move every two to three years.
• Children often experience six to nine moves during their PK-12 school career
Fact: 28% of military families choose to homeschool due to inconsistencies in education during transition.
Fact: 1 in 88 military children has autism.
Fact: There is a push to track all military connected youth (Military Student Identifier) so government agencies and DoD can better support and fund programs designated for our military connected youth Military Student Identifier
Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) was created to level the playing field for military children in schools. As of today, all 50 states have entered into the Compact and have agreed to abide by the standardization. The agreement has far reaching effects, from kindergartners to high school students. It also covers extracurricular activities that can sometimes be the link children need to integrate happily into school.
A few highlights of the Compact. For more information; www.MIC3.net
Standardization of –
- Educational Records, o Kindergarten & First Grade Entrance Age,
- Placement & Attendance,
- Course & Educational Program Placement, o Special Education Services,
- Absence Related to Deployment Activities,
- Eligibility Requirements for Student Enrollment and Extracurricular Participation.
Cool Fact: There is a magazine designated just to military connected youth – Military Kids’ Life. Started by two military spouses and mothers, they wanted to show the positive side of being a military kids today. The magazine features kids from all branches of service and includes National Guard and Reserve kids, too! Military Kids’ Life
Cool Fact: Operation Purple Camp – Camps just for military connected youth.Operation Purple Camps is sponsored by National Military Family Association. They offer camps around the country so military kids can connect with each other. www.militaryfamily.org
Cool Fact: The University of Southern California has an entire department dedicated to researching and supporting military connected youth in schools. USC Welcome Center MCY
Cool Clubs: Student 2 Student – Military Child Education Coalition offers a program for military connected students to welcome and support each other! Student 2 Student
Capital Project – Ready for the Future
Some schools are ahead of the curve by offering permanent capital projects in their school and promoting the concept of peer-to-peer support. By placing a permanent project in schools shows commitment to supporting military connected youth. Many schools, including DoD schools have funded and installed their version of the Buddy Bench on the school property. Many school have also commissioned murals highlighting the uniqueness of military kids in murals. Buddy Bench.