Information and Tools for Schools with Students of Deployed Parents

The purpose of this page is to provide guidance and resources to school systems that support students whose parents are deployed for military service. These students present unique needs that impact their academic, social, and emotional well-being.

It is estimated that over 1.2 million students in our schools today have a parent who is deployed for active duty in the US Military—frequently the parent may be in a dangerous area of the world and very far away. When a parent is deployed, the family makes great sacrifices, which create significant challenges for the children in the family.

Schools may also consider how the circumstances of these students, and the resources included on this site, can also be used to help other students understand the complexities of protecting our country and assist in engaging all students in being empathetic and engaged citizens.

Who are Reservist Component Members?

A member of the Reserve Component (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard) maintains his/her life outside of a military base; resides in community outside a military base and works for civilian employers. However, when called to duty, reservists must put their civilian lives on hold. Reserve families do not have access to the extensive family support system that military families have living near or on a military base, which is why the school kit is being developed.

“It used to be a big thing when a student had a parent deployed and everybody knew about it right away. Now it’s common enough…sometimes we don’t even know… And I think that means they don’t always get the extra care and things that they need to be successful.”

-(Public School Educator) Source: Military Child Education Coalition

Resources for Oral History Projects

Uncle Sam’s Kids – When Duty Calls by Angela Sportelli-Rehak

Shows parents and caregivers how to address the distinct stages of deployment such as worry, anger, detachment, sadness, recovery and anticipation of homecoming by using fun coping techniques, listening and normalizing common concerns, involvement in some decisions, discovering strength in family and community while promoting patriotism.

Toolkit Available to Help Educators Understand Needs of Military Children

Of the 1.2 million school-age children of our nation’s service members, the majority (more than 80 percent) attend public schools. Although many of these schools are located near military installations, many more are not. The 625,000 children of National Guard members and Reservists often attend schools that may be located in an area with no military installations or supporting organizations nearby. Although most schools that serve these children have a sincere desire to help, the information needed is not always readily available.

American Association of School Administrators (AASA)

AASA is a professional organization with a membership base of more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. With a grant from the Veterans Support Foundation AASA worked with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to develop an online toolkit to raise awareness and encourage advocacy regarding the education needs of military children and to offer resources to the school administrators serving these students. The AASA Toolkit: Supporting the Military Child includes tips for school leaders on building connections, promoting academics, and offering support; fact sheets about military children, Impact-Aid funding, and the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity; and other resources.

Recommended Reading

The Teacher’s Guide for Supporting Students from Military Families

by Ron Avi Astor, Rami Benbenishty and Linda Jacobson

The School Administrator’s Guide for Supporting Students from MilitaryFamilies

by Linda Jacobson

The Pupil Personnel Guide for Supporting Students from Military Families

by Linda Jacobson

The Military Family’s Parent Guide for Supporting Your Child in School. The Military Family’s Parent

by Linda Jacobson

Children and Youth Recommended Reading

A Very Long Time

by Geri Timperley and Nikki Arro (for ages 4-8)

A book for young children in military families whose loved ones leave for “a very long time”. Written to “help children grasp the meaning of time and generate the tools they need to deal with the separation that might otherwise seem to never end”.

Daddy’s in Iraq, but I Want him Back

by Carmen R. Hoyt

An hour is a long time to a small child. How do you describe the length of a military war deployment to a preschooler? When attempting to tell her son that his Daddy was not going to be gone for just a week or seven wake-ups, but for several months, Carmen Hoyt longed for a better way to lay it out for him. I wished there was a way to help him “get his little arms around” the situation.” Written after the author’s own husband returned safely from Iraq, this story is for pre-school children who have a hard time coping with a parent’s military deployment. “I felt a need for this story to be written when my three year old, Jack, became very insecure upon his father’s deployment to the War in Iraq.”

The Kissing Hand

by Audrey Penn (for ages 4-8)

Published by the Child Welfare League of America, this book is just the right book for any young child confronting a difficult situation or who is temporarily separated from home or loved ones.

Ned and the General: A Lesson in Deployment

by Ron Madison (for elementary aged children)

A book of stories written in rhyme and based on real children affected by deployment. A copy of the book, of Ned and the General, was sent to each school district, IU, elementary school and elementary level charter school in Pennsylvania. For quantity orders of paperback editions, call the author, Ron Madison, at 814-255-6646.

Night Catch

by Brenda Ehrmantraut (Author) and Vicki Wehrman (Illustrator)

When a soldier’s work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son. Night Catch is a timeless story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.

Soldier Mom

by Alice Mead (for ages 9-12)

A fictional story of a pre-teen girl who takes on additional responsibilities and experiences personal growth, during her mother’s seven-month deployment to Operation Desert Storm.

While You Are Away

by Eileen Spinelli (for pre-school to grade 2)

Three children’s stories of life while their parents are on active military duty abroad, each from a different branch of the armed forces. All three vignettes are upbeat and reassuring, and the book concludes with the safe return of all three loved ones.


offers an array of publications for service members and their families on topic of deployment including:

  • Let’s Talk About Deployment
  • Information and activity book for children
  • Know What? My Parent is Being Deployed
  • Activity book for ages 6-8
  • Who Knew? The Deployment Issue
  • Activity book for ages 9-11
  • Write from the Heart
  • Stationery kit for military families