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DoDEA Educational Partnership Awards $2.5 Million Grant to Virginia Beach School Public Schools

For Immediate Release — July 2, 2012 | HQ
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officer | (703) 588-3272

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — July 2, 2012 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership awarded a $2.5 million grant to the Virginia Beach Public School through the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Grant Program.

This school system serves military families serving in the Virginia Beach area.

There are over a million school age children from military families, with the majority attending public schools throughout our nation. DoDEA is committed to supporting educational outcomes for ALL children of military families. As the largest geographically dispersed school system in the nation, serving approximately 86,000 students worldwide, DoDEA shares its experience and resources with military-connected public school districts.

"Through outreach and partnerships DoDEA has the opportunity to support efforts to increase student success, provide professional development for teachers, implement practices that minimize the impact of transitions and deployment, and provide access to rigorous educational opportunities," said Kathleen Facon, Chief of the DoDEA's Educational Partnership Program.

Facon noted that DoDEA received many high-quality proposals for innovative programs and initiatives to support military connected students. This year's grant competition was focused on programs that:

1) infuse Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) principles throughout the curriculum;
2) establish or expand foreign language learning; and/or
3) programs that include ongoing, systemic strategies for parent and family engagement.

For the FY12 grant program, competitive priority points were awarded if the school district had not previously received a DoDEA grant award, and if one or more of the eligible schools has a military student enrollment of 50 percent or more.

"Ours is a school district with a large military population," said Virginia Beach Superintendent James G. Merrill. "Consequently, our teachers and administrators deal regularly with the unique needs of the children from military families. So often we witness them facing parental deployments and the academic and social issues that come with changing schools frequently."

"We know there is more we can do to ease the stress of their transitions as there is more we can do to increase their academic achievement," Merrill added. "The key is providing support that is meaningful to them, training our teachers and guidance staff in strategies that will help them better understand the needs of these special children and ensuring that we foster their development of 21st century skills, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math."

Merrill said receipt of the grant puts Virginia Beach City Public Schools in a much better position to positively affect the success of the children whose families have made the defense of this country their chosen career.

The grant will fund a Military Student Counseling Program, a Military-Connected Child Professional Development Program, and K-12 STEM Support Program to increase school wide support programs for military dependent students and to increase preparedness for students in STEM related careers.

DoDEA awarded more than $35 million in grants this year. The grants were awarded to 26 military-connected public school districts to strengthen family-school-community relationships and enhance student achievement for military connected students.

To be eligible for participation in the grant, the district must have an active military-connected student population of 5% or more, with a population of 15% or more military-connected students at the school level. Although funding levels are related to military student enrollment, the proposed programs will serve all students at the target schools.

DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

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