Research indicates that military children attend an average of six to nine different schools and that students who transition frequently have unique needs. The University of Southern California is partnering with five school districts (composed of approximately 110 schools) to launch a new initiative—Welcoming Practices that Address Transition Needs of Military Students in Public Schools (Welcoming Practices Consortium).

The overarching goal of this initiative is to ensure that district and school staff members have access to the tools they need to create welcoming and effective transition procedures that give students a successful start at their new school. In addition to professional development opportunities, Welcoming Practices is supporting the development of a mobile application that links educators, parents, and students to local resources as they transition into a new school district. Welcoming Practices is also supporting the development of a companion web registration site that informs parents of any documentation and/or eligibility criteria they will need to provide or meet in order to enroll their child(ren). In some cases they will even be able to upload materials electronically prior to their arrival. The Consortium is developing opportunities for current students and parents to help welcome new students and families. Welcome Centers are also being established as part of Welcoming Practices, to provide on-the-ground support to transitioning families.

Welcoming Practices is funded by the Department of Defense Education Activity HE1254-13-1-0017. District partners include Chula Vista Elementary School District (Lead Local Education Agency), Bonsall Union School District, Fallbrook Union High School District, Oceanside Unified School District, Temecula Valley Unified School District. Dr. Ron Avi Astor serves as Principal Investigator.

Welcoming Practices is a follow up to Building Capacity in Military Connected Schools, a consortium of eight school districts – Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, Fallbrook Union High School District, Bonsall Union School District, Chula Vista Elementary School District, Escondido Union Elementary, Escondido Union High School District , Oceanside Unified School District, and Temecula Valley Unified School District – and the University of Southern California. The Consortium’s overall mission was to change the climate of schools such that both military and non-military students would feel more welcomed, connected, and academically supported in their schools. For information related to Building Capacity in Military Connected Schools please visit our archived site.