Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) School System

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA schools) operate in serveral states and US Territories and at installations abroad. This article and linked resources can help you help military families transferring to and from this military education 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

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, there are still differences (see Procedural Safeguards in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Schools. )

Read the Instructions from Department of Defense

Read the Department of Defense Manual

Early Intervention Services:

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

Depending on the location of the DoDEA school, Part C services may be provided through the school or through the military medical system.

Information on the EDIS system

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