For the mobile military student, a portable Education Binder is an important tool for success. Amanda Trimillos and Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman, authors of Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers, say the binder is an essential tool for school transitions.
Stacy and Amanda recommend including work samples, letters and notes from teachers, a record of activities, and more, alongside essentials such as shot records and report cards. Parents, teachers, and the student can add a variety of material to the binder to create a complete picture of the student, personally and academically.
A well-stocked Education Binder can be useful in many ways:
- Samples of a student’s work, whether math homework or handwritten essays, present a broader picture of a student’s abilities than grades alone.
- An unofficial transcript can be used for provisional enrollment in a new school if an official transcript doesn’t arrive on time.
- Letters from sending teachers to receiving teachers about personality, preferences, and peer interactions help the teacher know the student better on the first day in a new classroom.
- A record of textbooks and workbooks used in classes will show the curricula a student has followed. A list of books the student has read is another good addition.
- Notes from past parent-teacher conferences or emails from teachers new teachers insights into the student’s learning styles and areas of strength.
- A record of awards, activities, and volunteerism show a student’s successes and outside interests.
“When we moved from Germany, our son’s records were late arriving back to the States,” says Stacy. “Because I had complete information in his Education Binder, things like past report cards, standardized tests, and examples of his work, the school was willing to place him at the right level of learning right away.”
A military student may change schools as many as nine times between preschool and high school graduation. A portable Education Binder can greatly reduce the impact of those changes.
Class placement is often affected by recommendations from previous teachers. A military student who is moving may not benefit from those recommendations if there’s a gap in teacher communications.
Letters from previous teachers in a binder can bridge that gap. This helps the receiving teacher and the student, says Amanda, who is a teacher as well as military parent. “More information about a new student lets me know where to seat the student and what skills or curriculum to focus on from the start,” she says. “Samples of the student’s work show me the student’s ability without having to do an assessment while the student is still adjusting to the classroom.”
Military families hand-carry many important documents when they are moving. Amanda and Stacy recommend hand-carrying an Education Binder for each student in the family. This important tool presents a student’s complete educational history to each new school.
Amanda Trimillos and Stacy Allsbrook-Huisman are the authors of Seasons of My Military Student: Practical Ideas for Parents and Teachers.