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School Transitions Made a Bit Easier for Kids


It’s the fourth move in seven years. With the switch to junior high and now to high school, that makes this the sixth school in seven years. And Mom was deployed overseas for one of those seven years. Transitioning is getting harder on your child; how, as a parent, can you help?

The Military Child Education Coalition created the Student 2 Student program (S2S) for high schoolers and the Junior Student 2 Student program (JS2S) for junior high/middle schoolers to ease the transition to a new school for students not only who are military dependents but also for students who experience a great deal of mobility in their lives. There are currently S2S and JS2S programs across most states (especially those with a large military population) as well as Department of Defense Education Activity schools across Europe and Asia.

These all-volunteer programs provide guidance to students both incoming as well as those who are preparing to leave. The program focuses on three aspects to help students; immediate peer credibility, positive peer relationships, and information about the school and community.

S2S and JS2S train teams of students in how to help incoming (or outgoing) students adjust to their new situations. Led by students and supervised (generally) by school counselors, schools teams develop their own individualized lessons and training tailored to their community that best suits the needs of their incoming (or outgoing) students. They do so through workshops and seminars for these student mentors based on what they deem three research-based modules; academics, relationships, and “finding the way.”

So what does all that mean for your child? An instant guide. A quick friend. And someone they can immediately ask questions of that won’t condescend or ostracize them, a fear all of us have that’s heightened in the pre-teen and teenage years. If your student is leaving, S2S and JS2S can help your child research your new duty station, the new school, and link them to the next schools S2S or JS2S program before they even arrive.

If your school doesn’t have either of these programs, read through their brochure to see if this program may be right for your school. Forward it on to your school’s principal and counselor; if it’s not a match for your school, there may be another school in the district that could benefit from it. And if you’re moving, check to see if this program is available at your child’s new school.

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