ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — June 3, 2009 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has completed a review of an initiative that would reduce its Kindergarten Program Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio (PTR) to 18:1 from the current standard of 29:1.
Last month, principals were asked to evaluate space availability in their schools, facility adequacy, and input from their staffs to provide feedback to DoDEA officials as to whether they could implement a target PTR of 18:1 in their Kindergarten classes for School Year 2009-2010. After compiling and analyzing the data, DODEA has determined the 18:1 PTR can be implemented in the schools having the highest kindergarten enrollments for School Year 2009-2010 and where principals have indicated they have the facilities to accommodate this ratio.
DoDEA has also determined that based on the data received, every Kindergarten teacher, regardless of the PTR, will have a full-time educational aide for School Year 2009-2010. The Kindergarten PTR initiative will mean the addition of 19 teachers and 19 full-time educational aides for School Year 2009-2010.
"We will be reducing the most overcrowded Kindergarten classrooms in our system where principals have indicated they have the space and facilities to accommodate the 18:1 PTR," said Charlie Toth, DoDEA's Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Education.
"A kindergarten PTR of 18:1 not only accommodates smaller class sizes but it increases the contact time between students and qualified teachers during the critical formative early childhood years," Toth added. "This type of contact allows teachers the ability to better understand their students' needs so that instruction can be more individualized."
In schools that do not have adequate facilities or space to implement the 18:1 PTR, DoDEA will look at available resources and provide engineer support to determine if the 18:1 PTR can be accommodated and resourced in School Year 2010-2011 or if resources and requirements dictate implementation of the 18:1 PTR beyond School Year 2010-2011. The DoDEA staff is currently working to ensure appropriate curriculum materials, furniture, and equipment is funded and available for complete Kindergarten classrooms in schools where the new PTR will be implemented in School Year 2009-2010.
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DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for Department of Defense dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. 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 United States 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.