So you got your orders, and you have a kiddo or two in school. What’s next?
Let me help you out with an easy to use PCS Timeline for MilKids!
Orders arrive. What’s first?
When your military orders arrive, you should also let your child’s school know that you will be moving and withdrawing from school. If you have a hard date, let the school know when you will be pulling your children from school.
This is pretty easy if your move date is during the summer. You can work with the normal end of the school year.
If your move falls before the last day of school or any other time during the school year, you will be pulling your kids out of school early. A good rule of thumb is to pull your children two weeks before you move.
Get the school records
Per FERPA, you have the right to access your child’s records at any time. But you will need to submit a request. In writing.
You should do this as soon as you have a firm no later than leave date. This gives everyone a chance to put everything in order. The main office will be able to check to be sure that everything is in the file and in the correct order. The teachers will be able to update any grades and add any work samples or notes.
This is something that you want to remind the office about a few times before your move. But without being a pest about it. So after your first request, keep track of any official papers that you receive at home (progress reports, report cards, etc.) and any important, official tests (SAT, ACT, state or district assessments, etc.).
And be really, really, really sure that info about your child’s special placements is in that file! I’m talking IEP, 504 Plan, Gifted and Talented, AP, all of that. For students with IEPs, call a meeting before you move so that the IEP is completely up to date and reflective of all current accommodations, modifications, and academic goals.
About a month before your move, remind the office that you are moving and will need a copy of your student’s official file by (insert last possible date here). Do this again one to two weeks before you PCS, too.
Letters of Recommendation
So your kid is a standout on the baseball diamond or lead the debate team to states or is just a really great person. Perfect! Let your new school know just how amazing your child is with a few letters of recommendation. Plus, depending on where you are headed next or the application process, letters of recommendation might be required.
So, about one to one and a half months before applications are due or before you withdraw your child, request letters from teachers, coaches, or other school personnel. Actually, if your child is old enough, probably fifth grade and up, have the child request the letters!
When you/your child requests personal letters of recommendation:
- explain WHY this letter is important
- WHAT the person has done for your child
- WHERE the letter will be going
- WHAT you what the letter to accomplish (explain sports skills, G&T program, academic or debate teams, etc.)
- WHEN you need the letter
Last, provide an envelope for the letter. Generally, letters of recommendation are confidential, so be sure to keep it that way! If a letter needs to be mailed, make sure the envelope is pre-addressed AND stamped.
Find a New School
So, you are at your new hometown and have found a school. Congrats!
Now, get down to the school office and register your child. Remember that however your child was placed at the last school, whatever services she received, she should get comparable placement and services at the new school.
The records that you received from the last school are not official, but they should be enough to place your child at first. Contact your old school, or have the new school them, as soon as possible. They will forward the official records which are needed to officially enroll your child.
At this time, you should also give any legal paperwork to the new school. This includes:
- 504 Plan
- custody agreements
- medical records, vaccination records
What else does your family do to help prepare for PCS moves?