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Supporting Military Families

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By Farrell Moorehead, Mariam Couri, Megan Grimshaw, and Corinne Keller

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What is a military family?

A military family is a member of a household who serves in the military, usually a parent(s) or guardian. A military family is technically defined by an, "Immediate family members related by blood, marriage, or adoption to a current member of the U.S. armed forces, including one who is deceased," (OneStar Foundation, 2012).

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How to Support Military Children in the Classroom

Military children benefit from specialized support and engagement in the classroom. See the infographic to the right for more details!

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This video illustrates the support teachers provide for parents and military children in the classroom.

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How to Connect with Military Families

  • Develop a welcome packet for military children.

  • Establish a buddy program for military children at each school.

  • Encourage parents and guardians to be active in the school

  • Promote student participation in extracurricular activities

  • Encourage parents, guardians and students to become involved with national organizations.

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How to Support Military Families as a Teacher

Create A Safe Classroom

As a teacher, you have an opportunity to to create a safe space for students who have a loved one deployed.

  • Be clear with expectations

  • Check in with students and provide resources 

  • Recognize the academic gaps

  • Help them feel seen

  • Invite a veteran to speak to the class

  • Encourage student socialization and friendships

Make Meaningful Connections

It's important to create meaningful connections with the student and family of the deployed military member. 

  • Create a care package and send it to the deployed family member

  • Extend a personal invitation to the military family

  • Avoid asking prying questions, be a listening ear

  • Help make the school community welcoming to military families

    • Invite military families to PTA/PTO boards and help them be a liaison

Supporting and Advocating for the Student

  • Seek professional help if a child needs it

  • Encourage communication and involvement from the parent that isn’t deployed

  • Be understanding of the child and their behavior/points of view

  • Help create a consistent routine for the child

  • Stay in contact with the service member

  • Help the child think about their service member each and every day

  • Make timelines easy to understand

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Purple Star Designation for Ohio Schools

Purple Star recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military. Ohio was the first state to implement the Purple Star Program.

  • School must have a staff point of contact for military students and families who works as a liaison for the school and them

  • The liaison informs teachers of military-connected students in their classrooms

  • The school includes a dedicated web page that includes military family resources  

  • Overall the schools must foster a supportive culture for military families

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Sesame Street for Military Families Helps Children Through Life’s Milestones

Military One Source

Military One Source provides resources from Sesame Street for military families.
"The initiative aims to address the ongoing needs of military children related to their experiences and transitions. The free multimedia website — with videos, games, tips, articles and more — is offered in both English and Spanish for children and parents. You can help your child gain resilience and have fun along the way."

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Recommended Books

All books can be found on Amazon.


Hero Mom by Melinda Hardin


Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin


Heros! Activites for Kids Dealing with Deployment by Susan B Weaver


I Move A Lot And That's Okay! by Shermaine Perry-Knights


When You Are Away by Dominique James, Ed.D.


Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler


Deployment by Julia Cook


Yes! I am a Military Child by  Laura Jo Ackerman

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Supporting Military Families Podcast

Image by Alejandro Luengo

School Liaisons and Geo-Dispersed Families

Military One Source

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Teacher Training to Support Military Families


Military Child Education Coalition

Program that offers training to educators interested in supporting military families through using effective resources and additional support. This program has held virtual training programs such as a 'Social and Emotional Learning' virtual training session, accessible to any educator that is interested in learning. 

“This training helps educators who work with students from military families. The content addresses student behavior and how it’s interrelated with academic competencies, decision-making, and relationship management,” said Kaci McCarley, MCEC’s program manager for professional development. “Once we can help students learn to self-manage, they do better with assignments and in their relationships with peers and others.”

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5 things school leaders can do to connect with military families. (2023, February 10). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from Books. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

Rfletcher. (2023, February 21). Sesame Street for Military Families. Military OneSource. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

Virtual Lab School. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from (2018). Education Revolution: Family Stories. YouTube. Retrieved from 

Hughes, M. (2020, July 2). Training to support military children. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from

“Inspiring TEAC...” NJ Alternate Route Rutgers University,

Lauren. “10 Ways to Support Military Families.” Military Connection, 23 Mar. 2021,

Fletcher, Robert. “Supporting Military Children during Deployment.” Plan My Deployment, 20 Sept. 2022,

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