Practice Forum

Supporting the school success of children from military families: The role of school psychologists

The challenges faced by military families, and the ways in which school psychologists can help, are discussed.

By Pamela Fenning, Abigail Harris, and Lindsay Viellieu

Military families are very resilient, yet they face a myriad of challenges due to the nature of military life. These challenges include frequent moves, deployments and long separations from loved ones. While the research findings are mixed, children, partners and the service personnel themselves are at increased risk for mental health and adjustment issues, particularly during times of deployment and transition to new settings. This article focuses on activities in which school psychologists can engage to support the academic needs and adjustment of military-connected children. The following activities are highlighted: 

  1. advocacy for legal rights, which include implementation of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children,
  2. data collection and oversight,
  3. specific support for educational transitions,
  4. consultation and coordination of standardized testing and curricular requirements,
  5. facilitation of social networks and social relationships and
  6. celebrating the strengths and resiliency of military families. 
School-related resources for military families are provided.