Military Times

DoDEA reducing number of districts

Department of Defense Education Activity officials are shrinking their administrative structure so staff can focus more directly on the needs of children at the school level.

The restructuring will take place in the echelons above school level, a move specifically designed to bring more resources to bear on improving student achievement, said Thomas Brady, DoDEA director.

Over the next four years, the number of districts will shrink from 14 to eight. For the DoDEA Americas area, districts will decrease from six to two for its 57 schools; DoDEA Europe will drop from four to three districts for its 66 schools; and DoDEA Pacific also will slim down from four to three districts for its 48 schools.

About 75,000 students attend those 171 schools worldwide.

The restructuring is not designed to change the number of personnel, Brady said; rather, it "refocuses and repurposes" people who work in DoDEA's districts and areas.

"I'm excited about it, because it puts better emphasis on student achievement," he said.

More district staff will be focusing on professional development, curriculum development and instructional assistance. Officials will take the results of assessments in schools and put additional resources in the schools to help students and teachers, Brady said.

For example, if a school needs assistance at the fourth- and fifth-grade levels in literacy, the district will have professional development and literacy experts who can be dispatched to help principals and teachers with instructional methods and materials to improve student scores.

"It's targeted intervention that will have great success," Brady said, adding that the restructuring will unfold gradually over four years because it's complicated, and "we don't want to do anything rash that would adversely affect people in the organization."

Individuals will have to make their own decisions about possibly moving to new roles or new locations, with some perhaps taking early retirement, he said.

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