Department of Defense Education Activity

About Kadena ES

"Kadena Elementary School (KES) is located on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. A member of the Department of Defense Educational Activity, KES provides a quality education to dependents of U.S. military service members and DoD civilians.

Built in 1954, Kadena Elementary School serves a population of more than 700 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to 5th grade. In spite of its size, KES is a neighborhood school, with the overwhelming majority of students living in the neighborhood, and walking to school. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the student population is commensurate with the general military population.

Because of the semi-tropical climate in Okinawa, the KES campus was designed with open-air hallways and ample playground space. A separate early childhood building houses kindergarten and Sure Start students. All classrooms are well supplied with equipment, materials, and current technology. A fully outfitted information center / library is well stocked with fiction and non-fiction collections, and contains one of the school's three computer labs. Separate gymnasium and cafeteria facilities allow the scheduling of simultaneous activities.

While all services, including DoD civilians, are represented at KES, more than half of KES students hail from Air Force families. Military assignments in Okinawa generally consist of a standard 3-year rotation, resulting in a similar pattern of turnover among the student population.

The KES faculty comprises over 70 full-time teachers and specialists with an additional 30 paraprofessionals for support and supervision. More than 75% of the professional staff have been teaching for more than 5 years, and over 60% possess advance educational degrees. The turnover among the professional teaching staff is low to moderate for a DODEA school of this size, averaging between 5-15 reassignments per school year.

Consistent with overseas schools serving military dependents, KES faces some challenges such as deployments and subsequent re-integration back into the family unit. Tied to the 3-year rotation of military members, is the persistent challenge of replacing teachers who are military spouses and must rotate out with their spouse. Additionally, there is the need for continuous upgrades to aging facilities.

Due to the age of KES facilities, a new school, projected to serve up to 850 students in grades pre-kindergarten to 5th grade, is under design and scheduled for opening in SY 2016-17. Present zoning boundaries will be modified at that time to facilitate an equitable enrollment among all Kadena AFB elementary schools."


Kadena Elementary School is accredited by Advanced ED. Advanced ED accreditation requires that staff members be qualified by experience and training. This qualification includes a Bachelor's Degree, college courses in the areas of instruction, and a valid teaching certificate.