ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — October 19, 2009 — The Department of Defense Education Activity awarded $56 million in grants to public schools serving military children throughout the nation. There were two categories of grants -- competitive and invitational. More than $41 million was awarded to 35 school districts in the competitive category and nearly $15 million was awarded to an additional nine school districts in the invitational category.
A total of 284 schools within the 44 districts will receive grant funds and those schools serve over 77,000 military students. The amount of the awards is based on military student enrollment and range from $300,000 to $2,500,000, depending on the number of military students at the target schools.
DoDEA's FY 2009 grant program focused on enhancing student learning opportunities, student achievement, and educator professional development at military-connected public schools. DoDEA's aim is to enhance the education of military students, but funds may be used to raise student achievement for all students.
"This is the first year of our grant program and we're looking forward to seeing the effects of these efforts, said Kathy Facon, Chief of DoDEA's Educational Partnership. "Supporting our military takes a school-wide effort and professional development opportunities to inform school staff of the academic and social-emotional challenges military children face."
The competitive program, The Promoting Student Achievement at Schools Impacted by Military Force Structure Changes grant competition, was limited to school districts serving installations who reported a projected military student growth of 400 students or more between 2007 and 2009 due to force structure changes based on the Report to Congress (March 2008).
The Invitational Grant Program is specifically focused on schools that support installations with frequent and/or sustained deployments, or who are located in remote locations.
The districts that were extended invitational grants were determined in close coordination with the Military Service branches. The invitational grant program is specifically focused on schools that that support installations with frequent and/or sustained deployments, who are located in remote locations or that are serving children of service members who have been wounded, or where school quality is a concern of the local military command.
"Through a rigorous grant review process representatives from the services, Department of Education and DoDEA reviewed the competitive grants," Facon added. Facon said each review team worked from a rubric developed by program evaluation experts to ensure fairness and equity.
"Invitational grants were reviewed by the appropriate and relevant DoDEA content area experts, who made recommendations for revisions before approval," Facon said.
All grant awards include an evaluation plan with data broken down to the individual school level for the military student population and will be overseen by an evaluator. DoDEA will facilitate the collection, management, and reporting of monitoring and evaluation data and results and compile grantee results into a generic report that will clearly and cogently describe the impact of DoDEA funds on student academic achievement, access to learning opportunities, and student well-being. Facon said that although the grant programs being funded vary widely, it is important that reporting accurately determines the overall effect of the program to ensure its success.
"We're very proud to be able to be able to offer this program. The men and women who voluntarily serve in our armed forces deserve to have the best educational possibilities available for their children. It's the least we can do for the sacrifices these families make for all of us," Facon said.
In FY 2007, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act allowed DoDEA to expand its reach to the approximately 92% of military students that do not attend DoDEA Schools. Through collaboration with the Department of Education, DoDEA is working to ease the transition of military students and providing resources to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) who educate military dependent students.
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.