School Transitions among Adolescent Children of Military Personnel: A Strengths Perspective

April, 2000

This paper explores the experiences of children who transition between schools as part of their family’s military service.


Adolescents faced with frequent school transitions may be vulnerable to a decline in academic achievement and poor participation in school activities. Because children of military personnel may move frequently, change schools, and be separated from friends, they may be more likely to fail in school. Yet this outcome is not always predictable. The strengths perspective may be useful in understanding success in school among adolescents who attend several different schools from kindergarten through grade 12. This article reports on the characteristics, transitions, and school experiences of 6,382 children (ages 10 to 18) of miltitary personnel from all four branches of the armed services, at installations in the United States and overseas. Despite an average of five school transitions, adolescents reported average and above-average grades in classes, ample participation in extracurricular school activities, and the support of parents and teachers. School social workers are encouraged to implement programs and strategies that maximize positive experiences for adolescents and their resources in the school environment.

Full Reference

Strobino J and Salvaterra M. School transitions among adolescent children of military personnel: A strengths perspective. Children & Schools 2000; 22: 95-107

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