Timothy Peck 4 min read Academic Tips and Info

DoDEA Schools: What Are They? Should You Attend One?

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools are a popular educational option among military families. More than 69,000 military-connected children are enrolled in DoDEA schools and taught by one of the DoDEA’s approximately 8,700 teachers. 

 

If you’re considering a DoDEA school, here’s what you need to know.

 

What are DoDEA schools?

 

DoDEA schools were founded in 1994, unifying two different types of schools: the well-established schools for children of military members stationed on bases in the U.S., and the more recently created schools for children of servicemen and servicewomen stationed in Europe and the Pacific.

 

DoDEA schools follow the DoDEA instructional program, a comprehensive curriculum for students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Similar to other K-12 schools, they are accredited and track the progress of their students through a variety of assessments. Unlike more traditional schools, DoDEA schools are uniquely capable of handling the challenges of military life. For example: 

 

  • They’re accustomed to the schedule of life in the service, such as the on-base doctor and dentist appointments that are typically scheduled during school hours.
  • They’re used to the regular comings and goings of students—even in the middle of the year.
  • They provide access to licensed counselors familiar with the distinct challenges faced by military children, such as deployments, reunions, and PCS season (the peak time for military movement).

 

DoDEA Core Values 

 

At the heart of the DoDEA instructional program are eight core values. Those values are:

 

  1. Student-Centered: Students are at the heart of everything the DoDEA does.
  2. Excellence: Strive to exceed expectations in everything they do.
  3. Continuous Improvement: Continually reexamine and improve the organization, its systems, and processes.  
  4. Diversity: Honor the uniqueness of each individual, embrace diverse beliefs and backgrounds, respect differences, and create inclusive environments that contribute to a better society.
  5. Individual Potential: Foster an environment that nurtures intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and creative growth.
  6. Lifelong Learning: Cultivate curiosity, perseverance, and the desire to learn.
  7. Shared Responsibility: Form partnerships with families, students, staff, and the community that enrich the lives of students.
  8. Trust: Cultivate a safe and risk-free culture that encourages and inspires innovation and builds relationships based on integrity, mutual respect, and open two-way communication. 

 

Are DoDEA Schools Good? 

 

DoDEA schools are competitive with public and private schools—they’re all accredited and in good standing with their regional accrediting agency. DoDEA students also take a variety of assessments to track their academic progress, including the TerraNova standardized tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). On the NAEP, DoDEA students rank among the best in the nation—a particularly impressive feat when you consider the system’s 35% annual student mobility rate, half of the students living at the poverty line, and the majority of parents only have a high school education.

 

DoDEA schools serve minority students particularly well. DoDEA commonly produces the highest scoring Black and Hispanic students on the NAEP and has the smallest statistical gaps in the assessment between Black and Hispanic students and white students. 

 

Where are DoDEA schools located?

 

The DoDEA operates 160 schools in 11 foreign countries, seven states, and two territories. The DoDEA is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, but its schools are divided into three regions: Europe, the Pacific, and the Americas. 

 

Below are the countries, states, and territories of DoDEA and the region they’re in. 

 

Europe

Pacific 

Americas 

Bahrain 

Japan 

Alabama 

Belgium

Korea

Cuba

Germany 

Guam 

Georgia 

Italy

Kentucky 

The Netherlands

New York 

Spain 

North Carolina 

Turkey 

Puerto Rico 

The United Kingdom 

South Carolina 

Virginia 

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DoDEA School Eligibility

 

The DoDEA schools are divided into four enrollment categories, each with its own unique requirements. Dependents of active-duty military personnel in category one are given priority; all other students are enrolled on a space-available basis in priority of category of enrollment.

 

Category 1: Space-required and tuition-free for dependents of:

 

  • Active-duty military personnel whose dependents are authorized to travel overseas at the government’s expense 
  • Full-time DoD civilian employees 
  • DoD sponsors assigned to the Security Assistance Program and the Foreign Military Sales Program (FMS)

 

Category 1: Space-required and tuition-paying for dependents of:

 

  • U.S. civilians who are full-time defense contractor personnel

 

Category 2: Space-available and tuition-paying (federally connected) for dependents of:

 

  • Eligible, full-time U.S. government employees who are U.S. citizens or foreign nationals of the U.S.

 

Category 3: Space-available and tuition-free for dependents of:

 

  • Active-duty U.S. military personnel stationed overseas and whose dependents are not authorized to travel at the government’s expense, but have traveled at their own expense
  • Permanent full-time DoD civilian employees who are U.S. citizens or foreign nationals of the U.S and stationed overseas in a different overseas location from where they reside 
  • Those given a waiver of tuition costs by the Secretary of Defense (or designee)
  • Personnel of foreign diplomatic and military Partnership for Peace (PfP) 

 

Category 4: Space-available and tuition-paying (non-federally connected) for dependents of:

 

  • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals of the U.S. who reside overseas but are not employed by a DoD contractor 
  • U.S. citizens or foreign nationals of the U.S who are not included in other categories but reside overseas—such as retired military personnel 
  • Local or national of another country where there is no objection from the military or State Department

 

The eligibility requirements for admission into a DoDEA school are fairly layered—in-depth enrollment information is found on the DoDEA website and additional assistance on their contact page

 

How to Register for a DoDEA School

 

Enrollment in a DoDEA school is done online at the registration page of the DoDEA website. Before you get started, you’ll need a valid email address. The DoDEA recommends using Google Chrome and having the following information on hand as the registration process will ask for it:

 

  • Household information such as a physical address, mailing address, and phone number 
  • Parent information such as orders or employment status and contact information like phone number and email 
  • Student information such as a birth certificate and demographic information 
  • Emergency contact information such as phone numbers and addresses

 

Depending on how much of the required information you have on hand before beginning, the registration process takes between 15 and 30 minutes. It’s possible to stop and save the application and come back to it at a later time. To complete the registration process, parents must physically visit the school. 

 

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.