PCS With Kids: How to Move Schools

Meg Flannagan on PCS with Military.com

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves with kids come with their own layers of challenges, not the least of which is switching schools. For military parents who do not homeschool, each move is met with the task of finding a new school, shifting school records and meeting the teachers and staff. Many parents also face the additional challenge of dealing with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or gifted and special education programs. And for the parents with high schoolers nearing graduation, things are even more complicated.

In this episode of PCS with Military.com, education advocate and expert Meg Flanagan walks us through things every parent needs to know and gives us insights on how the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) can help military parents tackle this tough PCS-related topic.

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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of PCS with Military.com.

AB 0:00

When a service member receives orders to a new location, it's not just his or her life and mission that's about to shift. We like to talk about how resilient our military kids are, making new friends learning in a new school and settling in. But coming alongside them hoping to make a little bit easier are their parents, teachers and community. But sometimes the system doesn't work the way it should. And military kids, especially those with unique education needs or challenges are at risk of falling through the cracks. As a parent, you work to advocate for them. But sometimes the problems can seem insurmountable. And you need a little friendly help and expertise to get your kids settled. And for that we have Meg Flanagan, an educator, advocate, military spouse and parent who has a master's in special education and a ton of experience in both classrooms, and as a tutor. Today, she specializes in helping both military and civilian families navigate the dicey waters of making sure their kids are getting the help they need. And she's gonna give us some insight into helping our kids successfully navigate a military move. Meg, welcome to PCS with Military.com.

Meg Flanagan 1:17

Thank you for having me, Amy.

Amy Bushatz 1:19

Okay, so give us some information. How many times have you moved with and without the military?

Meg Flanagan 1:27

I have, funnily enough, only ever moved with the military. I lived in the same house for the first like 22 years of my life. And then since then, I've moved like six times.

Amy Bushatz 1:41

Yeah, so I feel like you're making up for lost time.

Meg Flanagan 1:44

Yeah, you know.

Amy Bushatz 1:46

And where are you guys geographically today?

Meg Flanagan 1:50

We are currently in the DC area.

Amy Bushatz 1:54

So living that that highlife?

Meg Flanagan 1:57

Yep. Yep. I've been living the political life over here.

Amy Bushatz 2:02

Very fun. Okay. And and the traffic life. Enough of us get stationed in like very rural locations. That super culture shock to go somewhere where there's other humans.

Meg Flanagan 2:18

We've only ever lived in high traffic areas. So we have lived in San Diego. So we had the delightful five, and then 105 and the 705 and all of the highways. And then we lived in Okinawa, which it takes forever to get from one end to the other that teeny, tiny little island, and now in Northern Virginia for it takes an hour and a half. Yeah, I go like 15 miles.

AB 2:41

Okay. So your expertise is in helping parents navigate sticky kid education stuff, you know, around their military moves. But I want to kick off this conversation first, that it's sort of a higher level. So what are some things that are challenged for every parent, no matter their kid's specific education needs? What do you see are common problems.

Meg Flanagan 3:06

So the big thing every parent is going to deal with is literally moving their child from one school to another. So because we don't have, so let me walk that back. We have common core standards, which are guidelines at the national level, but not every state has adopted them in full, and every state can make adjustments to them. So not every state has the same educational standards, per se. Which means that moving from, say, California to Virginia, your kid is going to have two different sets of standards and making that jive, especially once you get into high school can be very challenging. It's also very challenging for parents to make sure that services are equitable and equal from place to place. And that's not just for kids with an IEP or a 504 plan. We're talking gifted education, honors courses, sports, soccer clubs, band, all of that you want to you're trying to make this as seamless as possible because military kids, every child has so much else going on in their life right now. And moves are stressful to begin with. Another thing that every family that moves military or not military is figuring out how to assess which school to enroll your children into. So the there are ranking websites out there. We have all known them. We somewhat like them, we're Niche, Great Schools, to a lesser extent School Digger. I don't think that one's been updated in a little while. It's just one it's a one man operation, School Digger is, but Niche and Great Schools don't always -- how shall I put this politically correctly -- they don't always find value in diversity and populations that are maybe socioeconomically stratified, or where there's a heavy concentration of children with unique learning needs. So for example, Northern Virginia has a really great testing ground of this. There are many incredible schools here. They're all very low rated, if you look at them, so like Alexandria, city schools, schools, system I am intimately familiar with, most of our schools are rated like five out of 10 or below. Not great right? Now. However, what they're failing to tell you is that those schools have a huge English language learner population. Huge. Some of the schools have a full bilingual program starting in kindergarten. Most of the schools are Title One schools, most of the schools have a robust and economically adjusted so less expensive, for the area, after school program, they're all connected to a community center. They all provide free lunch programs, they all have breakfast programs, they like the list goes on and on. How are these schools rated? Three, twos, threes and fours. How is that possible when you're talking about incredibly enriching cultural experience? So what all parents have to do is they have to understand what the ratings mean, versus the reality of the school. And when you're not actually there in person. Sorry, that was really long winded.

Amy Bushatz 6:44

No, no, that's great. Because you're you're absolutely right. Like, I moved my kids, and I look, you know, we're looking for a house, the realtor can't tell me really anything about the school. They're really not supposed to do that. Right. So I'm looking at the rankings, and I'm hearing one thing and reading another, you know, yeah, and that's, that's a big, that's a big challenge. Um, okay, so what are things that parents can do to help them navigate this stuff? So like, like, okay, I look at the rankings. It's not real, how do I figure out what is real?

Meg Flanagan 7:21

The best way the way that I -- so originally, when I started out as an education advocate and advisor, consultant for military families, I've also relied on Niche and Great Schools and School Digger. No more. I rely specifically on the State Department of Education report card, so every single state has a report card for every single school, and you can go and look it up and it will break it down. It doesn't give it a ranking or a rating, it just says, how many kids have passed the test at a given grade level? What's the diversity of the school breaking it down into socio economic categories? What is free and reduced lunch look like? What's the graduation rate at high school? How about honors courses, AP courses, clubs, activities, it kind of touches on those intangibles. So as a good first step, I would, I would still go to Niche, Great Schools. And then you know, just to get an idea of where schools are and what the boundaries look like. Places are constantly redistricting. And so the school that you bought, that you wanted address at perhaps is no longer the school by the time you PCS there, you know, two months later. The other thing, so you've you've looked at niche and great schools, just to get you know, a looksie, and now you're going to go and you're going to pull the shortlist of report cards from the State Department of Education for pass number two, and the schools that are left on your shortlist are your schools that you're going to interview, you're going to send an email to the principal, to department chairs to coaches to anyone that you envision your child interacting with over the course of your time at that duty station and just say, hey, tell me about your program. This is my kit. This is who we are military family. I mean, or don't disclose that totally your call. You don't have to disclose you’re a military family. But reach out and let them know your kid is coming. What they're interested in. If there are especially in high school if there are letters of recommendation or anecdotal reports from say a band director, a theater director, sports coach, club mentor, whoever, English teacher send those along, too, and say hey this is who my kid is. How can we make this program work for them?

Amy Bushatz 9:42

Yeah, I'm like I'm I don't know why it never occurred to me to do that before. It's not rocket science like, like you're suggesting, you know, effectively interviewing these people who you know who theoretically are teachers because they like teaching and and shouldn't have a problem with that. And that's never occurred to me before.

Meg Flanagan 10:07

I don't really honestly, you're not the first person to say that to me, too. I was advising someone else last spring. And she was just like, what do you mean email them, I can't email them. And I was like, oh, 100% you can and they are waiting for your email, they want you to email. Because the more people that like us, like military families, the more word of mouth grows about how great their school is, or how great their school system is. And then suddenly, they have more students, which means potentially more money, which means their school gets more awesome.

AB 10:39

Right? Right, and be there. And I'm thinking about, you know, my interactions with my, my children's teachers, right, that the school they're in, and they love parent interaction, you know, they're like begging for parent interaction. And so the idea of starting that before it even starts is I mean, that it seems like it shouldn't be rocket science. But I'm over here feeling like we just, you know, went to Mars or something.

Meg Flanagan 11:07

And, in starting off that way, by interviewing the school means that your name and your kids name are already on their radar. But being an involved and active parent actually works in your favor, a parent who can walk the line of, you know, I'm a supportive parent, I want information about my kid, I want to know what's happening at school. Tell me, let me help you let me even if it's just you know, writing your emails, or you know, sending home things to cut out at night, and then sending those things back in. It doesn't volunteering is not what it was, say in the you know, 70s 80s and 90s, when moms primarily not to be you know, gendering of anything, but primarily mothers would go in, and they would be in classroom volunteers. And that's not the case anymore. Most parents don't have time to go in and be physically in the classroom anymore, for long stretches of time. But parents can be involved at home online, virtual PTA stuff. So being an involved parent gives you more access to your teachers. And if you have more access and a better relationship with your child's teachers, then it's easier to have those hard conversations when when things maybe take a turn for the not so great. And it's easier to get insider information. So for example, when I was in the classroom full time, I had like, I had a ton of involved parents, right. But then I could also reach out to them and say, Hey, you know what, we're really looking for blah, and they were like, oh my gosh, stop, stop it right there. I'm going to get you, blah. Don't even worry about it, but then when they came to me, and we're like, you know what? My kiddo is we're taking a trip with grandma. And obviously before times pre COVID. taking a trip with Grandma, it's going to be over a long weekend. What can we do? I had no problem at all making that kiddo advance work to take with them if if the mom and dad wanted it, right? Because they had already it's a two-way street. They had already come and gone up to bat for me and made sure that my classroom was good. Of course, I'm gonna do whatever I can to make their kiddo and this trip happen for them in a way that's equitable and productive.

Amy Bushatz 13:27

Yeah. Yeah. That's such good advice. See, I knew I knew you have spidey senses. What can I say? Is there I cut you off though earlier in knowing your recommendations because I got sidetracked by excitement on things, something I'd never thought of before. What else? What else? Did you have that railing us on?

Meg Flanagan 13:48

So mostly about the transferring process, which goes back to exactly what we were saying getting those anecdotal anecdotal records from teachers, reference letters, especially for like specialized clubs or sports. It's often so I'm thinking, again, of you know, Big City High School. So we have, you know, it's big city high schools are 3,000 kids at a high school, how are you going to get your kid onto the coveted soccer team or football team? When there are approximately one bajillion children trying out for that those two open spots? You're going to get them their reference letters. Because why would they take an unknown quantity? Even if they're open tryouts, which there are supposed to be even if there are open tryouts and your kid comes in with check out this video check out this reference letter. Now they have that plus their in person interaction with you at the end at the open tryouts. Right? It's easier. Yeah.

AB 14:50

Yeah, and coaches are still I mean, these these folks are humans too, right? So of course, they're gonna, they're gonna look at the you know, it's just human nature. They're gonna look at the kid that they know, or who's who they've had experience coaching. And can, you know, compare whether they're trying to or not the one they don't know and have no experience coaching. And, you know, we're asking a lot of our teachers. And so I completely understand that the known entity is more favorable than

Meg Flanagan 15:23

It is. But going along with that building a little, we all have PCS binders, or like a digital version of that, build a digital version for your kid of their education stuff, report cards, education plans, latest testing scores, state, or specialized testing, reference letters, notes about things, cool projects they've done, and bring it with you to the school. And then when they say, Hey, we're looking, we're trying to place this kid, you think, Well, here's all this stuff that I have.

Amy Bushatz 15:53

Does that put you at risk of being a little bit extra? Like to over the top? Is there? Is there such a thing as being too over the top when it comes to going to a new school with your kid?

Meg Flanagan 16:04

Yes, there is. So caveat, yes, you can 100% go over the top. And it's every parent's gut instinct to be like, my kid for like, I will do anything for this child. But when it comes to your kids' education, making sure that especially for children that are highly transient, making sure that they're getting similar education, no matter where they're living, is tantamount. It's what you want to do. Like, you want to make sure that if they're getting incredible educational opportunities in one place, that when they move, they're not going to lose those, right. So if you're if this is about getting into an honors class in high school, or making sure that they have a good fit in fourth grade for their teacher, and they don't do well with a person that yells or uses a loud teacher voice all the time. Those things are important to know. Yeah.

AB 17:02

So okay, what are some ways speaking of kids who are highly transient and helping them out? Right? What are some ways that moving stress manifests at school? And do you find anger? And do you find that kids who have no challenges in one place suddenly have very challenging needs in the next place? Maybe because of that anger?

Meg Flanagan 17:23

Yes. So my family just moved houses like a mile away, but we moved. And so I'm seeing this in my kiddos who are younger, so we've got anger, we've got aggression, being withdrawn, being moody sadness, non compliance with you know, standard directions, Please clear the table. And also conversely, a stronger desire to please stronger desire to please so little things are triggering. Can you hear my kiddo right now? Being triggered?

Amy Bushatz 18:05

Like a real life -- you guys listen, we have this podcast for Military.com, And we are talking to real people, and they have real children. This is not an actor.

Meg Flanagan 18:17

I am not an actor. I'm an actual mother. I play one in real life. Unfortunately, anyway, so um, you know, set them off. So things that you might you know, once your kid is settled, and in their norm, they could be you know, the coolest cucumber on the block. Nothing rattles them. Nothing fazes them, they have great friends. They're kind, they're generous, good grades, and then a PCS starts coming down the pike and they could become withdrawn from those friends. Think about your own preparation as an adult for deployment, you might pull back from your spouse to kind of maybe ease the break though. Never did that. You might be angry at on deployment for their job.

Amy Bushatz 19:04

I don't know what you're talking about.

Meg Flanagan 19:08

You might become sad, you might become depressed, you might have that hair trigger temper. You might have a range of emotions. You might become mean or mean spirited.

Amy Bushatz 19:20

All of these things sound like other people's problems to me.

Meg Flanagan 19:23

100% we're practically living in Stafford Ville over here. Everything's peachy all the time. Nobody else in my house ever.

Amy Bushatz 19:33

Definitely not that kid in the background.

Meg Flanagan 19:35

Definitely not the one in the background either. And you can't see me right now but I'm 1,000% wearing a tea dress with a crinoline underneath. My hair is in a French twist with full makeup.

Amy Bushatz 19:46

It's great. You are the very picture of military spousedom.

Meg Flanagan 20:01

Um, but anyway, so kids are going to picture how you feel as an adult, and now put that in a tiny little body, they have all the same emotions. And they're going to express those emotions in a variety of ways, just like you do when you're confronting a big life transition transition. So you can see a dip in grades, or conversely, a rise in grades. Because kids are unpredictable. And so yes, kids who don't have challenges in one place, or have not historically had challenges in their current location may suddenly have challenges. But right before they move, or when they arrive in their new location, there could be additional challenges.

AB 20:43

And that's why it's important to do what we were talking about before, which is communicate with the teachers and let them know what's going on. I mean, like you said, before, you don't have to disclose it, you're a military family. But doing so could potentially help the teacher understand how to better serve your kid.

Meg Flanagan 21:02

Absolutely. Especially if you're moving to a place that is not solely or predominantly military. So obviously, like around Fort Bragg, you're gonna have mostly military kids. And so those teachers are hopefully, very used to having a military child in their classroom. Right. Counter that with San Diego or other big cities, Northern Virginia, like my daughter's maybe one of three known to military children in her entire grade. Like they don't, they don't have this exposure in the way that other teachers do. For like, military hubs, where it's lots of military all the time, and no one else? Sure.

AB 22:30

So we've talked about general challenges, I want to get really specific into sort of the more specialized things that you deal with as a part of your job as a an advocate, and assistant on this subject. So first, talk to us about one of the helpful quote, you know, supposedly helpful tools that we have as military families, so we can get into the nitty gritty, what is the education compact people? I'm sure you've heard of this? It's hard to know what it is, or it what it's supposed to do, or what it actually does, which are two different things. So what is it, fill us in.

Meg Flanagan 23:11

So, um, it's definitely a tool in your tool belt. It is not the golden bullet that you are looking for. You can leverage so the military children's interstate compact, or MIC3.

Amy Bushatz 23:26

Yeah, that's nice, right acronym.

Meg Flanagan 23:27

Military Interstate Compact Commission. MIC3 is basically designed to help ease transitions. So moving from one school to another, you don't lose placement in the gifted and talented program, it ensures that your I it's like a double dose for kids with an IEP. Because IEPs do transfer anyway. But it's like a double dose of like, hey, just a reminder, in addition to federal special education law, you also have to honor this child's education plan because their military child helps with like I said, gifted education, which is not a federally recognized education category. By saying that, this child is in the gifted program in location A and therefore in location B, the child will be enrolled into a same or similar gifted program level. It also helps with getting on to teams and into clubs and into band. So even if you arrive after the open tryouts have passed, there is a loophole, caveat way of getting your child looked at to join the team. Little known but it's hard to use. The tricky part comes when it comes to high school. So elementary school, middle school, unless your child has outside of the general education needs more talk, you know, IEP 504 plans gifted education unless your child has one of those. Moving your child from school to school is fairly simple. It's as simple as getting their transcript and hitting enroll at the next school. Easy peasy. So when it comes to high school, you're saying talking about college and potentially scholarships and sports that actually matter in terms of getting into college potentially, or if your child is extremely talented going from high school to a professional sports contract, very rare, but maybe it could happen to you, who knows. Um, so suddenly all these things matter, as well as graduating on graduating on time. So you don't want your PCS in the middle of junior year to derail your kids graduation, next June, because sometimes that has happened in the past before MIC3, What MIC3 basically guarantees in high school is that your credits will transfer to comparable courses. This runs into problems because not all courses are taken in the same order or titled The same thing. So for example, in one place, you might have to take American history one in freshman year, and then American history two and sophomore year, and then America, you know, world history, and then modern Europe, and then, you know, but they could be called something different. It could be I've seen things like, just like freshmen history. What does that mean? So then you actually have to go to the course description. And what Well, I've advised clients to do is to actually pull up the course description of their current High School and any previous high schools for their child, as well as the receiving High School and compare with like, a highlighter, and then send those documents and say, actually, they've done this course.

Amy Bushatz 26:25

Right, because freshmen history is not the history of freshmen.

Meg Flanagan 26:29

Probably not the history of freshmen. I mean, freshmen really have no history at that point. They're like, 13.

Amy Bushatz 26:36

Right. And so it's important to make sure that you know what your kid has done, and compare that to what the school new school is asking for. But the education compact itself, is it correct me if I'm wrong on this, okay, this is my non educator, expert understanding, it is a series of rules that each state has agreed in theory to apply to their school system, by law, and that this sort of was led like it was come up with by the DoD working with the states, but then each state individually got on board, you know, got on the train. And they've all agreed to this, again, in theory. But in practice, when you go to move the individual school may or may not know about the rules, the individual school district may or may not have any idea how to apply the rules. And so therefore, it is up to you as the parent to help them with this endeavor.

Meg Flanagan 27:43

That is correct. Okay. Especially if you're moving to a place where there are not a large percentage population of military children. So again, somewhere like, you know, Jacksonville, North Carolina, Fayetteville, North Carolina, they're very well versed in this. And addition, you also have DoDEA schools there as well, and DoDEA is part of the compact. But moving to like, the middle of nowhere, Massachusetts, they don't have a lot of military children there. Strangely enough, they have like one, maybe two military bases in Massachusetts, and they're mostly like Guard and Reserve. So you don't have a lot of military kids or families. And so the teachers are going to look at you like, you want me to what grade sorry, they can't take, like, they can't take the courses out of order. And you're gonna say no, but they can. Basically, it's just, it's just a series of documents exactly, like you said, to kind of prod the schools into doing what is right, for military kids, and making sure that they graduate from high school on time, and that they are able to access state the same or similar programs, no matter where they live.

Amy Bushatz 28:56

And it really it it applies to all kids, but it really comes into importance for our high schoolers, who are, as you mentioned, looking at the scholarship thing, looking at the college thing, and now all of a sudden, whether or not you have the credit courses and understand the history of freshmen is important, is important in a bigger picture way other than that's interesting to me or I got a bad grade, at one point at enduring some year, you know, that it's a much more serious discussion, it actually impacts your life. I want to talk a little bit about the thing you actually really specialize in. I mean, you specialize in all this stuff, obviously, like blowing my mind with all this stuff, but helping parents navigate education for their special education or needs kiddos because we're talking about moving and we're talking about education plans, and it all sounds scary and complicated. But boy does it get more. So when you're talking about specialized education plans for special learners or for that, you know, kids in the non federally mandated, as you mentioned earlier gifted programs. So what's the biggest mistake parents make when PCSing with one with an IEP or in one of these programs.

Meg Flanagan 30:25

Not reading the special education law in the state that they're going to. so there's the federal law idea, the individual Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it was, it's like, reviewed regularly. But the last major update was, I believe, in 2004. So it's pending in it. But basically, it guarantees a whole host of things, including, you know, the being the assessments, how you become eligible. You know, what kind of education options there are, etc, etc. And it's a federal law, which means it's transferable state to state. However, in the federal law, there are no timelines or deadlines or like outlines, even of how things need to operate, what order they need to operate, and when things need to happen by every single state has different deadlines for things. So some I sometimes IEP meetings need to happen within 65 days. And sometimes they can happen just kind of within a reasonable timeframe. And sometimes they need to happen within 30 school days. And sometimes it's business days, and sometimes it's calendar days. And so being able to read, even if it's just like the sparknotes version of it, being able to understand what your new states education laws actually say and how they apply to your child is important. The other thing that is that I find parents get tripped up on is comparable versus identical. So when a child moves with an education plan, whether it's district to district or state to state or state to DoDEA, there's a difference between what might be applied because as an all things not everything is equitable, there are not the same. Not every school system, not every school building has the same resources, the same staffing the same finances even right. So when you're moving place to place, you might have had this incredible in house specialist at school a but now you're moving to school B and they are not in a financially wealthy neighborhood. And so they don't have X, or they are in a very high needs area. And so they have a huge population of students with needs in a particular area. But they don't have the funding to have a huge number of staff in that area. So the key word is comparable. So you are looking for a good match, not an identical match, and what happens to your child services. So one of the best examples is your child gets pull out speech and language three times a week for 30 minutes each time. In school a you move to school B, they cannot remove speech. From your child's plan. It's in there, it's a legal document, they have to keep it. But they can offer comparable services. So that might be two times a week for 45 minutes, which would be actually equal time at equal minutes. But less sessions, they could offer 260 minute sessions, one per week, the golfer for per month, 60 minutes once a week, from over four weeks. So you're looking for something that doesn't remove the service entirely, but gets as close as humanly possible to providing the same amount of minutes in that service as a qualified professional.

Amy Bushaz 34:06

Yeah. Okay. So you mentioned the Department of Defense's school system which is called the Department of Defense Education Activity, which is a fun name. super interesting. Anyway. DoDEA.

Meg Flanagan 34:20


Amy Bushatz 34:21

And because, you know, it's fun to say the acronym like for us, okay. So it's not a state it is a part of the compact it is its own special and extra fun thing. Okay, so what's the deal with working with those guys?

Meg Flanagan 34:44

So there are some wonderful things about DoDEA. All of their teachers specialize in treating and supporting military children. They have the full weight of the federal government behind them because it is a federal entity. However, it also has all of the bureaucratic nonsense of a federal entity.

Amy Bushatz 35:05

No, no, we don't know anything about that.

Meg Flanagan 35:08

I've never spent, you know, an hour and a half on hold with Tricare ever. No, no, no. Um, so it is often hard to get an answer. Because so much is controlled at the federal level and not maybe so much at the individual local school level. Sure, policy wise. So in order to get an answer on something, they first have to go to their area superintendent, who then has to go to the regional superintendent, he then has to go to the federal superintendent, and then it all goes back down to the local level.

Amy Bushatz 35:52

That's a lot.

Meg Flanagan 35:53

It's a lot. Um, they there are some wonderful things about them overseas, they have different the different ratings for different schools. So not all schools can serve all children. This is why the EFMP health clearance thing when you go overseas, which includes Alaska, and Hawaii, is very important. Because if you wind up in a school with that cannot serve your child, that's you're kind of in you're kind of in a catch-22 like, Yeah, you got to be there. But also your kid can't get the things they need there. And so now you're either going to be moved home early, which I've seen, or your spouse is going to be put on unaccompanied, which I've also seen, or you're going to be paying a ton of money out of pocket for either local services. So which can be super fun. If you're in like, say Japan, and your child needs speech and language, and there are no American Speech Language therapists on the island. Or you should pay a boatload of money for a virtual specialist. It so you've just got you've just got to do your homework and really their schools just like any other school with the added fun level of federal bureaucracy. Sure.

Amy Bushatz 37:19

Okay. Give us, now that you've scared us, by the way, you know, you're scared us, give us two or three tips for parents to walk away with here if they're about to PCS. And this conversation, like I said, was scary. What are some things so not just with the federal system with all this, you know, like, what are some things that parents can do to prepare right now, after we end this episode.

Meg Flanagan 37:51

So first, please take a very deep breath. Enjoy a beverage of your choosing, okay, whatever that beverage may be, perhaps a comfort food. Find a battle buddy.

Amy Bushatz 38:05

Judgment free zone.

Meg Flanagan 38:06

Judgment free zone, really just find someone that you can vent to because I this is very stressful. And then another deep breath. So many deep breaths, maybe some yoga, I don't know that's step one, just relax. Step two is to start building your child's education portfolio. So this is going to be larger, if you have a child with any sort of additional needs disability, gifted and talented whatever all of that you are going to want to make this digital so that you don't have to, you know lug multiple three inch three ring binders with you in your suitcase to Japan or Germany. Or, you know, just across the country. No one wants to do that. Make it online. I personally find Google Drive to be really easy for this because everyone can get into Google Drive and then you can just you know share individual documents individual people as needed. They're very easy to attach to emails, especially if you're a Gmailer. You're going to want to make sure that you are reaching out or in high school your child should be reaching out to people in their life coaches, teachers, mentors, admin guidance counselor's anyone that is important to your child at school should have a letter of reference letter and anecdotal report. An elementary years this is just like a, here's my student letter like Hi from Mrs. Smith. This is Johnny. He's really great. He loves rockets and dogs and he can read at level blah, blah, blah. And the blah blah blah test. Just like, a like a quick little here's this kid from the classroom teacher or from the subject area teacher, and also coaches and all that good stuff. Just put it on Google Drive. Then. Take another deep breath. And you're going to start doing research on where you want to send your child to school. And obviously, please consider all possible options. Public, private, charter, homeschool, there's lots of good choices out there. There's no wrong choice when it comes to your child's education, just the best fit for your child. Looking at Great Schools, reach out to individual schools. Look at those report cards. Yes, it will take some time. So just, you know, small bites every day. Just a little tiny bite. It's okay.

Amy Bushatz 40:32

Breathing and the yoga.

Meg Flanagan 40:36

So much breathing so much yoga. I had sticky notes everywhere when we were moving last time. And that was just moving from like preschool to kindergarten. So I yes, I am that parent who's extra? Yeah, I'm also the teacher who is extra.

Amy Bushatz 40:52

So it balances out at times. How can people find out more about you?

Meg Flanagan 41:00

So I have a very complicated website. It's just Megflanagan.com Or you can look at Mike Flanagan Education I'm on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but mostly on Facebook.

Amy Bushatz 41:14

And we will have your website, etc. linked in the show notes so people can find it. Thank you have left us with a wealth of not at all overwhelming information. So thank you so much but truly like you've boiled it down for us and I really appreciate that. So thank you so much for joining us today on PCS with Military.com.

Meg Flanagan 41:35

Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

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