Shortly after the end of World War II, the United States military established schools for the children of its service men and women stationed in Europe and the Pacific. Schools for children of military members stationed at various bases in the United States were already well-established. First administered by the military branches they served, the growing number of schools was soon transferred to civilian managers, then organized into two separate but parallel systems: the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) in the United States. In 1994 the two systems were brought together under an umbrella agency, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).
DoDEA, as one of only two Federally-operated school systems, is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and managing prekindergarten through 12th grade educational programs on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). DoDEA is globally positioned, operating 181 accredited schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, 7 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA employs approximately 15,000 employees who serve more than 78,000 children of active duty military and DoD civilian families. DoDEA is committed to ensuring that all school-aged children of military families are provided a world-class education that prepares them for postsecondary education and/or career success and to be leading contributors in their communities as well as in our 21st century globalized society.
DoDEA operates as is a field activity of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness). It is headed by a director who oversees all agency functions from DoDEA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. DoDEA's schools are divided into 3 geographic areas: Europe, the Pacific, and the Americas. Each area is managed by an area director. Within each of these three areas, schools are organized into districts headed by superintendents.
To be among the World's leaders in education, enriching the lives of military-connected students and the communities in which they live.
What We Do
The DoDEA instructional program provides a comprehensive prekindergarten through 12th grade curriculum that is dedicated to attaining highest student achievement for all students. Currently 100% of DoDEA schools are accredited and in good standing with their regional accrediting agency. Students consistently achieve high scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress and above the national average on standardized assessments. Minority students have been especially successful, scoring at or near the highest in the nation in mathematics.
DoDEA measures student progress with multiple performance-based assessments. The TerraNova standardized test provides DoDEA with results that it can compare to a nation-wide sample. DoDEA students also take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which provides comparisons of student achievement in reading, writing, math, and science. All DoDEA schools are accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation ans School Improvement (SACS CASI), which provide each school with an independent evaluation.
Schools submit annual reports of data, and every five years they host an on-site validation visit led by education experts from the United States. Following the on-site visits, the experts send a report that includes recommendations for improvements to each of the schools visited. DoDEA also conducts internal monitoring of educational programs to ensure high-quality implementation of new programs and overall effectiveness of existing programs. Monitoring activities may include, but are not limited to the following activities: surveys, interviews, focus groups, classroom observations and the analysis of achievement and training data.
Currently 100% of DoDEA schools are accredited and in good standing.