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Department of Defense Education Activity: Striving for Excellence in Education


The Department of Defense Education Activity schools provide a comprehensive pre-kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum for children of service members and Department of Defense civilians competitive with any school system in the United States. This organization operates 194 schools in twelve foreign countries, seven states, Guam and Puerto Rico, serving over 86,000 students. Each DoDEA school is committed to helping military-connected children reach their full potential enriching their lives and the surrounding communities.

Successful student-centered programs

The teachers, administrators and staff are trained and experienced to recognize and address the needs of military-connected students and their challenges, including frequent moves, transitions and separations from parents. This system, tailored to military-connected students proves successful since students in DoDEA schools consistently earn high scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress and exceed the national average on standardized tests.

Service members place a high value on quality education and the opportunities it affords, including admissions to competitive colleges and universities and rewarding careers. Parents can rely on DoDEA to be a partner in providing their child with every opportunity to succeed and reap the rewards of a first-class education.

Area Service Centers

The schools are grouped into one of three geographical area service centers: DoDEA Americas, DoDEA Pacific and DoDEA Europe. These three areas provide guidance and assistance to their districts in support of the unified DoDEA mission to deliver an exemplary education for all students in the system.

  • DoDEA Americas. This system serves over 27,000 students through 66 schools in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
  • DoDEA Pacific. This system serves over 23,000 students through 49 schools in Guam, Korea and Japan.
  • DoDEA Europe. This system serves nearly 36,000 students through 80 schools in Bahrain, Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements for DoDEA schools vary slightly depending their locations -- overseas or within the United States, its territories, possessions and commonwealths.

  • Locations outside the continental United States. Generally, command-sponsored children of service members and DoD civilians from preschool to grade 12 are allowed to enroll in DoDEA schools at no cost. Other children are allowed to enroll, including children of defense contractors whose contract allows for the education of dependent children in DoD schools, children of non-DoD federal employees, children of foreign national military members serving at the installation, etc., but the enrollment of these children may be subject to a space-available or tuition-paying basis.
  • Locations within the continental United States. Through DoDEA, dependent children of service members and civilian employees of the federal government assigned permanent living quarters aboard an installation receive tuition-free education. Enrollment in DoDEA schools within the United States may be allowed for other children, including children of service members and federal government civilians not residing in permanent quarters, but the enrollment of these children may be subject to the availability of space in the schools.

Non-DoD Schools Program

In overseas locations where no DoDEA schools are available within the commuting area, the Non-DoD Schools Program provides support for students and teachers and funding for the education of authorized command-sponsored dependents of military members and DoD civilian employees. At these locations, DoDEA supports a variety of options for military-connected children ranging from home-school programs to public or private schools. Approval for the enrollment of an eligible minor dependent of a DoD sponsor must be obtained from the DoDEA NDSP office prior to enrolling a child in a non-DoD school.

High-tech tools for students and parents

Recognizing the huge role that technology plays in daily life, DoDEA has embarked on several initiatives to leverage state-of-the-art resources delivering educational excellence to students, keeping parents involved and informed, and easing transitions by simplifying tasks like retrieving transcripts.

  • Technology supporting grants. To military-connected schools, DoDEA offers many grants for technology integration and the National Math and Science Initiative, which expands opportunities for military-connected children to attend advanced placement classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Mobile device program. DoDEA has implemented a pilot one-to-one mobile device program that currently allows 4,000 students in 10 schools to access electronic curriculum materials and creative software via laptops anytime and from any location.
  • DoDEA virtual high school. The DoDEA virtual high school provides students distance learning programs incorporated into a fully accredited comprehensive virtual high school. The virtual high school allows students to take necessary classes, provides resources to fill gaps, assists in transition and provides flexibility in scheduling.
  • My Data Button. During the 2012-2013 school year, DoDEA launched "My Data Button" to give parents electronic access to their child's academic records, including transcripts and performance data. Parents can download this information in a common format at any time and from any location.
  • GradeSpeed. Parents can log in to the Web-based GradeSpeed program, check their child's grades and attendance record and communicate with their child's teachers through email. This encourages and simplifies parental involvement, especially during periods of deployment. To use GradeSpeed, parents must register and create an account.

Educational Partnership Program

The Educational Partnership Program provides information and support to increase understanding of the unique needs of military children, as well as academic support to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for military children. This program works collaboratively with the Department of Education in efforts to ease the transition of military children providing resources to local education agencies that educate military children. Through a variety of programs and partnership development, the Educational Partnership Program promotes quality education, seamless transitions and deployment support.

Community Strategic Plan for school years 2012-2017

In addition to providing students with an outstanding education today, DoDEA is charting a course for ongoing improvement. The organization is developing a Community Strategic Plan for school years 2012-2017 that puts excellence at the forefront. The plan's five strategic goals of student excellence, school excellence, talent excellence, organizational excellence and outreach excellence are the result of a collaborative effort among parents, students, teachers, military service partners and other stakeholders. This community and customer-based approach helped DoDEA refine its mission and vision for delivering a high-quality, student-centered education, and also improve the educational options of the military-connected students who do not attend DoDEA schools.

 For more information on DoDEA schools and associated DoDEA programs, please visit DoDEA.


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