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Department of Defense Dependents Schools: Map


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The Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) are a network of schools, both primary and secondary, that serve dependents of United States military - and other non-US - personnel outside the United Statesmarker. The schools themselves are operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).


DoDDS started operating schools October 14, 1946 for military workers' children overseas. Originally it cost $10 to enroll a child, and the schools would get money from profits made by Class VI stores (alcohol). It now can cost as much as $20,000 USD for enrollment for non-Command Sponsored military families, or Command Sponsored Contractors, and increases approx. 800 dollars a year. There were 38 elementary schools and 5 high schools to start out with. Now there are 120 schools (includes all levels) altogether, with only two high schools out of the original five still operating today, which are Heidelberg High School in Heidelbergmarker, Germanymarker and Kubasaki High School on Okinawa, Japanmarker, although other high schools have been built later on.

How DoDDS operates

All schools in the DoDDS system operate overseas. There are also some schools that operate on military installations within the United States, but those are grouped in a separate organization within DoDEA, the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS). DoDDS has superintendents for two districts: Europe and Pacific. The DoDDS Pacific schools are, for the most part, in the Far East on installations in South Koreamarker and Japanmarker. Schools on military bases in Guammarker are under DDESS jurisdiction, but are administered by DoDDS Pacific (presumably for administrative convenience). Turkishmarker DoDDS schools are served by the European branch. Schools on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Basemarker in Cubamarker fall under the jurisdiction of DoDDS, but are administered by DDESS. Schools on bases in Puerto Rico are under DDESS.

Although the schools are primarily dependents of military personnel, U.S. government employees are allowed to enroll their children in the schools on a space-available basis. As all of these schools are situated overseas, a concerted effort is made to immerse the children in the local color. Language and culture courses are offered as early as elementary school, while advanced language courses and opportunities to intimately view the culture of the student's host nation are offered throughout high school.

DoDDS schools operate with two structures in terms of grade levels:
  • The old American standard, in which elementary schools run from Kindergarten to sixth grade while high school serves seventh through twelfth graders.
  • A newer standard, adopted by some DoDDS facilities in the 1970s, in which Kindergarten to 3rd-5th grade students attend elementary school, post-elementary students up to 8th grade attend middle school, and 9th through 12th graders attend high school.

In addition, many universities from around the United Statesmarker have set up branches on military installations so both dependents and military service members can continue on with higher education without having to leave their respective posts. After graduation, however, many students not wishing to enlist in the military attend college in the States.

Students with special education disabilities, according to IDEA-IA 2004, attend schools within DoDDS. These students are in pre-K (preschool or early childhood) through high school. The infants-toddlers special education program exists overseas on USA military bases, yet does not appear to be coordinated through DoDDS. SAIC, Inc. has advertised in the past for personnel such as family service coordinators to work for the infants-toddlers special education program. School psychologists are directly employed by DoDDS and civilian employed clinical child psychologists are employed by the USA military to provide direct and indirect services to students with special needs. Not all levels of special education services are available at all schools and base locations.


For the European branch of DoDDS, there are 5 districts:
  • Bavaria District — Ansbach, holding 16 schools
  • Kaiserslautern District — Kaiserslautern, holding 23 schools
  • Heidelberg District — Heidelberg, holding 19 schools
  • Isles District — Lakenheath, holding 17 schools in the United Kingdommarker, Bahrainmarker, Belgiummarker, and the Netherlandsmarker
  • Mediterranean District — Vicenza, holding 18 schools in Italymarker, Portugalmarker (specifically the Azores), Spainmarker, and Turkeymarker

The Pacific branch, officially DoDDS-Pacific/DDESS-Guam, has three DoDDS districts and one DDESS district:


Main article: List of schools in United States territories


The Kaiserslautern District has the most DoDDS schools worldwide, until the Heidelberg District closes and all schools in the district will be handed over to the Bavaria District. The Kaiserslautern District serves over 5,000 students. Although schools are being eliminated, a number of schools are still operating normally.

Bases such as Heidelbergmarker, Kaiserslauternmarker, Wiesbadenmarker, and Ramstein Air Basemarker in Germanymarker; Vicenza American High School, Naplesmarker and Avianomarker in Italymarker; Lakenheathmarker in Englandmarker; Incirlik in Turkeymarker; and Okinawamarker, SHAPEmarker, and Rotamarker in other areas are the most commonly known ones.

Starting the 2007/2008 SY, Kaiserslautern High School will be combined with the neighboring elementary school. Students from Landstuhl Middle School and other students living in select areas were redistricted to Kaiserslautern starting with school year 2008-2009. Current elementary students will attend Vogelweh Elementary. Therefore, KHS's student population will increase from 650 students to about 900.

Note that some overseas DoDDS schools have changed names so that although it might appear at first that there are or were multiple schools at a particular location, further closer investigation will reveal that the names all pertain to the same school, just different eras.

For example, Forrest Sherman High School, Naples American High School, and Naples High School all are the same DoDDS high school in Naples, Italy.

For every sports season, the schools compete in the DoDDS Championship, held at various locations.

See also

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