ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — April 12, 2007 — Dr. Joe Tafoya, Director of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) today announced the formation of a new directorate to coordinate partnership activities and initiatives with local education agencies (LEAs).
The new directorate, "Educational Partnerships," provides DoDEA with an opportunity and obligation to assist military-connected communities to ensure the best possible educational experience for military students. The primary focus of the Educational Partnership Directorate is to share DoDEA's expertise with non-DoD schools that educate military students. Of the approximately 1.2 million military student-age children, DoDEA educates nearly 91,000 with the rest of the students being educated in public, private and home-based schools. DoDEA will serve as a role model and partner to LEAs and also continue its interest and investment in quality education for military families which remains a major factor in retaining highly qualified and trained military personnel.
The concept is the result of collaboration between DoDEA and the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy (DUSD, MC & FP) to address the educational quality given to all military dependent students, especially those affected by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and global rebasing of U.S. military forces. Officials anticipate more military students will be attending local schools as a result of BRAC and global rebasing initiatives.
"Our DoDEA vision is 'Communities committed to success for all students'," Tafoya said. "Establishing this new division complements our vision to extend that commitment to reach every military child, wherever they attend school."
The new directorate will form and begin initial operations during the present fiscal year, with the bulk of funding and staffing projected to begin during Fiscal Year 2008. The division will report directly to the DoDEA Director and will be organized into three offices: Partnership Development, Department of Defense (DoD) Legislation/Policy Liaison, and Extended Learning.
The partnership development will concentrate on six areas – high quality teaching, professional development, program improvement, high school initiative, curriculum consistency, and foreign language. According to Tafoya, the partnership's efforts in these areas will have a direct effect on students.
"Up until now, DoDEA has worked hard with other agencies and private organizations to address transitional issues that are procedural in nature," he said. "We've had great success, and there is still more work to be done. This new initiative will allow us to address curricular transition issues that directly influence student achievement."
The Legislation/Policy Liaison will concentrate on building relationships between state and federal governments to better address issues that impact on LEAs. The Extended Learning Office will develop extended learning opportunities for students and explore options such as virtual schools, on-line courses, and other solutions using emerging technologies.
Tafoya will appoint Taffy Corrigan, who is currently DoDEA's Acting Associate Director, Education and Assistant Associate Director, to lead this new effort. When fully operational, the directorate will be comprised of 36 new positions. Tafoya credited Corrigan's appointment to her initial efforts to establish coordination with schools located near military installations.
"Ms Corrigan has been a major force behind our initial steps to examine the possibilities for working with schools outside the gate. I have been so impressed with Ms. Corrigan's efforts over the past year to coordinate and establish partnerships with schools outside the gate that serve military students," he remarked.
"Her work to date with school districts in Hawaii and Texas has been very effective. Her appointment is a perfect way for us to continue to address this important initiative and to capitalize on her expertise in this area. No member of my leadership team is better poised to lead this effort as we transform our own vision for what DoDEA can be in the future."
The Educational Partnership Directorate will coordinate with DoD as well as the U.S. Department of Education, individual state Departments of Education and local school districts to meet and form partnerships. The objective of the meetings and partnerships will support best practices for schools who are educating military students.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for DoD dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) located in the United States and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.