For Immediate Release — October 10, 2012 | HQ
Connie Gillette : | (571) 372-0607
ALEXANDRIA, VA — October 10, 2012 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership awarded nearly $49 million to 38 public school districts supporting military-connected students through the Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Program (MCASP) for 2012.
DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald addressed representatives from the public school systems who received grants at a kickoff meeting on Oct. 3, in Bethesda, MD. "I have the privilege and honor of leading a school system that provides an education for more than 86,000 children of our nation's service members, but truth be told, that is only a small fraction of the overall student population in military families," said Fitzgerald.
Of the 1.2 million military-connected school-age children, nearly 80% attend public schools throughout the United States. In addition to DoDEA's education mission in twelve nations, seven states and two territories, DoDEA also provides support to military-connected students who attend public schools throughout the United States through the grant program and other initiatives.
Fitzgerald said the average military-connected student will change schools six to eight times during their academic career as they move because of their parent's service to our country.
"One of the most challenging things we have to do is to help mitigate the academic disruption that occurs for these students," Fitzgerald said.
All grants focus on enhancing student learning opportunities, student achievement, and educator professional development. Some grants also have a counseling component that focuses on easing the challenges that military students face due to transitions and deployments. The majority of projects have a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and all include high-quality implementation and evaluation plans.
This year, DoDEA worked collaboratively with the Defense Language and National Security Education Office to award grants to six districts to initiate the Strategic Foreign Languages Expansion Program to improve strategic foreign language educational opportunities.
"This year's competition included three priority focus areas: STEM, foreign language, and parent or family engagement," said Kathleen Facon, Chief of the Educational Partnership. "Half of the School Districts selected are first-time DoDEA grantees and the other half received grants in the past for other schools within their districts."
Since 2009, DoDEA has awarded 186 grants, totaling $214M with nearly 80 percent of all projects focusing on STEM subjects. Each grant project is funded for three years.
"In our fourth year of executing the grant program, we received nearly 80 proposals—our largest response to date, but what is most exciting are the results our prior grantees are sharing," Facon said.
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.
Fitzgerald thanked the grant recipients for their commitment to education and their desire to improve outcomes for military-connected students.
"Our military families make many, many sacrifices each and every day as they serve our nation and we are committed, as I know you are, to ensuring the education of their children is not among the sacrifices they have to make."
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.