During our first year, we had an opportunity to tour "transition" or "connection" rooms at two schools in the San Diego Unified School District. These rooms serve as an initial point of contact for new military families arriving at the school and are implementing the recommendations included in the Navy’s publication, “Connections: Navy School-Based Programming Guidebook.” The book highlights best practices for welcoming military students and is based on a successful model used at military-impacted schools in Hawaii. In these rooms, staff or volunteers are able to answer questions about academic issues, as well as opportunities for students to get involved in activities and make friends. They also provide information on community resources and other local services for military families.
It is our hope that all schools serving military students would have a room dedicated to welcoming new students and families. Creating these rooms also would be excellent projects for our interns. We began initial discussions with the schools in our consortium and the school liaison officers for the Navy and the Marines in hopes of implementing this program more broadly in schools with high proportions of military students.