Virtual School Program
DoDEA has a proud, 60+ year history of providing quality education for children of military families, the majority of which has been taught in traditional "brick and mortar" classrooms. As an organization dedicated to continually improving the education experience for our students, DoDEA is currently developing additional academic opportunities through the use of 21st Century learning and communication tools.
"We are opening our fully-accredited DoDEA Virtual High School," said Patricia Riley, Chief of DoDEA Distance Learning/Virtual School. "The program is supplemental at this time but we plan to be comprehensive within the next school year," Riley said.
In the future, DoDEA plans to offer courses at the middle school level as well but that, according to Riley, is a few years away. "This doesn't mean we would expect students to attend the Virtual School from 9th through 12th grade, necessarily, but the Virtual High School will increase education options for DoDEA-eligible students," she added.
Although DoDEA has offered distance-learning courses since the early 1980s, the Virtual School will eventually offer a complete curriculum of courses necessary for a student to graduate from high school.
Overseas, the Virtual High School will use the same criteria for eligibility as DoDEA schools. Eligibility for enrollment in DoDEA's overseas school system is determined through categories (see sidebar). Eligibility for attendance in DoDEA schools in the continental U.S. remains the same - the sponsor must be assigned permanent quarters on the installation and an active duty or federal civilian employee.
The Virtual High School assists transitioning DoDEA students by allowing them to take classes they need regardless of their location and enhance curriculum by providing additional resources to fill gaps, assist in transition and provide flexibility in scheduling.
Riley explained that the Virtual High School does not replace or compete with face-to-face instruction. "If a course is offered at a local DoDEA school, a student will be required to attend that course unless there is a schedule conflict. They wouldn't have the option of taking the class virtually if they can get the same course in a traditional classroom," Riley added.
There are more than 44 courses available and more will be added in the future.
There are three hubs for the Virtual High School to accommodate the three different areas of the world that the school will serve. The hubs are located in Wiesbaden, Germany, at Camp Humphries Korea and a third hub is temporarily located at DoDEA Headquarters in Arlington, VA. But will relocate to Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia. "These locations - within the different time zones - will allow for synchronous learning," said Riley.
While some learning will be able to take place any time the student chooses (reading, research, etc.) some of the requirements will be to participate in live, on-line discussions and video or audio chats. Although the use of synchronous support is not new to DoDEA's distance learning program, new and improved web-conferencing tools will enhance online instruction and provide students and teachers with opportunities to interact via the Internet.
"We're preparing our students for life in the 21st century," said Riley. "So offering them opportunities to learn in ways that utilize technology just makes sense. It's an exciting time for DoDEA whether you're an educator, a parent of a student."
- A student is the dependent of a service member or DoD civilian and is on the official orders placing them overseas and receiving housing allowance. Space-required, tuition-free.
- (FMS or MAP) A student is the dependent of a person who is either in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or the Military Assistance Program (MAP). Space-required, tuition-paying.
- (DoD Contractor) A student is the dependent of a DoD Contractor. Space-created, tuition paying.
- (Federally Connected) A student is the dependent of a person who is a U.S. Government Agency Employee other than DoD. Space-available, tuition-paying.
- (Non-Command Sponsored) A student is the dependent of a service member or DoD civilian and in not on official orders, or on a special waiver category. Space-available, tuition-free.
- (Non-Federally Connected) A student is the dependent of a person who is not in any of the above categories. Space-available, tuition-paying.
DoDEA Virtual School Program Coordinator
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria VA 22350-1400