DAHLGREN, VIRGINIA — May 2, 2022 — The Department of Defense Education Activity approved Naval Support Facility Dahlgren for a three-year pilot program to open enrollment to children of full-time, active-duty military living off base.
Dahlgren School serves as an outstanding benefit to our military members, providing military kids with an exceptional education,” said Capt. Todd Copeland, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity South Potomac. “It provides a positive environment where military kids can share the experience of moving frequently and adapting to a new community.”
The pilot program, authorized by the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, allowed DoDEA to select four sites to gauge interest and expand options for military-affiliated children. To be eligible for the pilot program, students must be a dependent of a full-time, active-duty service member with orders to Dahlgren, Virginia.
“The pilot program at Dahlgren School expands education options for Dahlgren parents and addresses the challenges of family readiness for our military members,” said Copeland. “Quality education is a stabilizing influence in the lives of children and their families and contributes positively to the readiness and morale of our country’s military forces.”
The Department of Defense long has recognized the significance of family readiness and its impact on overall military readiness, performance, retention and recruitment. With nearly 1 million school-age active-duty military dependent children worldwide, service members have growing concerns about the quality and level of support offered by local primary and secondary education programs in some locations. Lack of access to high quality education may compel service members to shorten their military careers or leave families behind to keep their children in preferred schools. Recent survey data suggests that the latter decision puts undue hardship on military families and affects the choice to continue to pursue a military career.
“Military-connected kids face unique challenges, from managing the stress of deployment to relocating with their parent,” said Helen Balilo, the Department of Defense Education Activity community superintendent for New York and Virginia. “One way this pilot program supports family readiness is by supporting these kids, which DoDEA has been doing for 75 years. We know how to help them navigate social and academic changes, and we look forward to serving more students through this program.”