Our Story

This website is part of the Schools Empowering At-Risk Students (SEAS) project and has been created by the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State (Clearinghouse), an applied research center located at The Pennsylvania State University. The SEAS project supports the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), a federally operated school district that educates approximately 70,000 students annually on behalf of the Department of Defense.

From 2011-2016, the Clearinghouse worked with DoDEA to identify effects of military-related parental absence on children, risk and protective factors, and potential unmet needs. One of the recommendations was to:

  • Provide standardized training to teachers and staff:
    • To better recognize when students are having difficulties;
    • To implement effective supports for those students; and
    • To understand military culture.

In response, the Clearinghouse worked with our DoDEA partners to support teachers and other school personnel who serve military-connected students. Specifically, collaborative efforts between the Clearinghouse and DoDEA were focused on developing and implementing standardized trainings for all school personnel on issues unique to military-connected students. This website was created to house online learning modules and other resources that were developed to help school personnel meet the needs of their military-connected students who are experiencing military-related parental absence.

In 2016, the SEAS project at the Clearinghouse commenced and work began in partnership with DoDEA to translate and apply evidence within a tiered prevention model to address student socioemotional risk, including suicidal ideation and self-harm, violent threat and behavior, and problematic sexual behavior for children and youth (PSB-CY). From 2016-2019, the SEAS project team provided online training materials, technical assistance, coaching, and consultation in order to help DoDEA implement best practices in a way that is sustainable and manageable given the unique needs of their schools and community.

In 2019, the SEAS project team at the Clearinghouse was awarded a grant by the DoDEA grants program to expand the audience of the work completed from 2016-2019 to support the socioemotional needs of all military-connected children, including those children attending civilian public-school districts. The SEAS project team is in the process of adapting existing resources so they can be used by school professionals who serve military-connected students in civilian K-12 schools. Resources are accessible on this website as they become available. Additionally, the SEAS project team is piloting the creation and implementation of a multi-tiered systems of support for behavior (MTSS-b) framework in three DODEA elementary schools and one civilian elementary school. Resources to help other schools implement an MTSS-b framework will become available after the pilot concludes in 2024.