Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) School System

Special Education:

Prior to June 2015, DoDEA schools operated under IDEA 1997 in providing EIS and Special Education services. In June 2015 Department of Defense issued a new directive and a manual with regulations based on the provisions of IDEA 2004.  While this change should eliminate many of the differences between public schools and DoDEA schools with regard to Special Education, some DoDEA schools may not have fully implemented the changes.

Can military families now expect the same interpretation of IDEA whether their children receive services through State and public schools or Department of Defense?  It’s early to tell, but there will (probably) still be differences in how public schools/States and DoD interpret and implement the IDEA.

If you’d like a quick refresher on IDEA 1997/2004 differences, see the table at the end of this article.

Read the revised Regulation

Early Intervention Services through DoDEA:

Under IDEA part C, the military provides series for early intervention through EDIS (Early Developmental Intervention Services) for ages 0-3 which is managed under the military medical system.

EDIS is provided through DoDDS for speech and language only, while PT and OT are provided through the military medical system. Within the DDESS schools all EDIS services are provided through the school systems.

Information on the EDIS system

General Information:

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) operates through the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Alexandria, Virginia.  It is accountable for the planning, coordinating and management of a pre-K through12th grade educational system on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD).  DoDEA ensures that “all school-aged children of military families are provided a world-class education that prepares them for postsecondary education and/or career success and to be leading contributors in their communities as well as in our 21st century globalized society” (Department of Defense Education Activity, 2015).

DoDEA has oversight for and operates 168 accredited school districts within the U.S. and U.S. Territories, including Virtual High School, providing free educational services to qualified dependents of active duty service members in three operational areas:

  • DDESS is the Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools which operates 65 schools on 15 installations in 7 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • There are Non-DoD schools which receive funding for the education of dependents of military members and of DoD civilian employee overseas where no DoDEA school is available in that overseas assignment.
  • DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependent Schools) are located in areas of OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) located in one of these three regions in the Pacific Region, Atlantic Region, and Europe. Service members’ children will only be assured placements in DoDDS if they are there as part of the Command Sponsorship – (approval from Branch Command

Information on individual schools/districts.

Further information on DoDEA Schools.

Information on the DoDEA Virtual High School

Table of comparison between IDEA ’97 and IDEA ’04:

IDEA 97 (external link) IDEA 2004 (external link)
Sec. 602(19). Definitions: “Parent”. Sec 602(23). Definitions: “Parent”
Sec. 602(30). Definitions: “Transition Services”
Sec. 613. Early Intervening Services Sec. 613(f). Early Intervening Services.
Sec. 612(a)(17). Participation in Assessments. Sec. 612(a)(16) Participation in Assessments.
Sec. 613(f). Coordinated Services System. Coordinated Services System was eliminated.
Sec. 613. Early Intervening Services – no comparable language in IDEA ’97. Sec. 613(f). Early Intervening Services.
Sec. 614(a). Initial Evaluation and Reevaluation. Sec. 614(a)(1)(B). Request for Initial Evaluation.
Sec. 614(b). Evaluation Procedures. Sec. 614(b). Evaluation Procedures.
Sec. 614(d)(1)(A). Individualized Education Programs. Sec. 614(d)(1)(A).
Sec. 614(d). IEP Team Attendance; IEP Team Transition; Meetings – No comparable language in IDEA ’97. Sec. 614(d)(1)(C), (D); 614(3)(D)-(F). IEP Team Attendance, IEP Team Transition; Meetings.
Sec. 614(d). Program for Children who Transfer School Districts – No comparable language in IDEA ’97. Sec. 614(d)(2)(C). Program for Children who Transfer School Districts.
Sec. 615(c), (d). Content of Prior Written Notice; Procedural Safeguards Notice. Sec. 615(b). Types of Procedures.
Sec. 615(c), (d). Content of Prior Written Notice; Procedural Safeguards Notice. Sec. 615(c), (d). Notification Requirements; Procedural Safeguards Notice.
Sec. 615(f). Impartial Due Process Hearings. Sec. 615(f). Impartial Due Process Hearing.
Sections. 631 – 644. Early Intervention Services Part C: 1. Sec. 635. Requirements for Statewide System; 2. Sec. 635. Flexibility to Serve 3 Year Olds Until Elementary School; 3. Sec. 637. State Application and Assurances; 4. Added Sec. 640(b) – Obligations Related to & Methods of Ensuring Services; and 5. Sec. 641. State Interagency Coordinating Council

For a PDF version of this document, please contact us at thebranch@wapave.org or by calling 253.565.2266, ext. 112