Module Overview: The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) was created by the Department of Defense (DoD) to educate the children of military and civilian families connected to the military throughout the world. DoDEA is a worldwide education system that educates students in grades PK–12, offering a wide range of programs and supports to students and families. As students transfer into and out of DoDEA schools from the public school system, School Liaisons can offer support to mitigate the impact of transitions. School Liaisons serve as the primary liaison between community schools, commanding officers, and military families. They link the military family to individuals or groups who can solve whatever problem they confront.
- DoDEA’s mission is to plan, direct, coordinate, and manage schools and education-support programs for eligible dependents of U.S. military personnel and civilian personnel of the U.S. Department of Defense.
- DoDEA operates 194 schools in 12 foreign countries and the United States, serving about 84,000 children.
- DoDEA oversees the Non-DoD Schools Program (NDSP), which reimburses families stationed abroad for the cost of most education-related expenses.
- DoDEA supports the education of students who are not enrolled in DoDEA schools or NDSP through programs such as the DoDEA Educational Partnership Program.
- To support the education of military-connected students and ensure their educational opportunities, DoDEA and the U.S. Department of Education have a formal partnership for collaboration.
- The Interstate Compact on the Educational Opportunities of Military Children was established to address issues for military-connected children associated with transition and deployment.
- DoDEA schools are overseen by headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and serve eligible students through two school systems that are operated overseas and in the U.S., respectively.
- DoDEA schools are not required to follow the rules and regulations of ESEA because they do not receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education.
- To enroll in a DoDEA school, the enrolling sponsor must be on extended active duty or a full-time Federal citizen employee, the sponsor must be residing on the installation, and the student must be the sponsor’s dependent.
- DoDEA offers specialized programs in overseas locations for preschool-age children with disabilities or who are deemed “at risk.”
- DoDEA has developed rigorous and demanding curriculum standards in all core subjects that align with national standards and are based on current research and best practices.
- DoDEA assesses students using the TerraNova, a standardized norm-referenced test, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam, a test that is administered in every state.
- DoDEA schools report data annually and conduct internal monitoring of educational programs using a web-based reporting system that is similar to those required by ESEA called School Report Cards (SRCs).
- DoDEA students must earn 26 credits or 8 semesters of coursework and maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in order to earn a high school diploma.
- DoDEA offers specialized programs to provide DoDEA schools’ students with remedial options, flexibility, and challenging curriculum including a Summer School Program, DoDEA Virtual School, and an Advanced Placement (AP) Program.
- DoDEA Virtual School is a fully accredited Virtual High School that addresses the educational needs of military-dependent students in transition.
- School Liaisons assist installation commanding officers by interacting and building relationships with school districts to support military families as well as building an action plan to meet the needs of installation families.
- School Liaisons are responsible for providing information to parents, making referrals to appropriate agencies, educating families, communicating with installation officers and commanders, encouraging parental advocacy, and developing and maintaining relationships with school districts.
- School Liaisons should follow the general chain of command of their installation and service branch and provide updates and recommendations regarding the transfer of military families with school-age children in and out of the installation, particular needs of families with children with special needs, local education-related committees, task forces and/or networks in which the School Liaison is taking part, issues related to the local installation-school MOU, and state education policy changes and/or trends that may affect local school governance, school choices and/or operations.
- School Liaisons should follow protocol outside of the installation, especially when dealing with school systems.
Looking Forward: Next, learn about the Non-DoD Schools Program, which provides support and financial assistance to eligible military families stationed overseas.