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United States Air Force
Child & Youth Education Services - School Liaison Program Manager
Okinawa City Japan 96368-5134
Each installation provides information about the types of schools and programs offered on or near your installation for your child. Learn about the types of programs, guidelines and requirements for each school. Whether you choose to send your child to a Department of Defense School, a private school or public school, your installation can help you explore all of your options to make the right decision for you and your child.
The Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) operates schools for children K-12 (kindergarten through twelfth grade). There are 13 DoDD schools on island with 1 primary school (K-2), 1 intermediate school (3-5), 2 elementary schools (k-5), 2 middle schools and 1 high school at Kadena Air Base.
To ensure better stability for your children, all incoming personnel that have school age children are to contact the District Registrar at DSN: 315-634-8995 prior to enrolling their children in school. Because of school zoning, personnel should wait until after they have had their housing briefing to enroll their children in school. This is in an effort to avoid having to move children from the school they are zoned for while in billeting to the school where their permanent quarters will be located.
There are no American "public" schools available in Okinawa. Children of families with orders to Okinawa attend the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) on the various bases at no cost. They can also choose to attend one of the various religious affiliated schools off-base which have varying fee structures.
Number of DoD Schools on Okinawa
26 Carnegie Units.
Enrollment in DoDDS is governed by DoD directive 1342.13. Requirements for enrollment are the following: (a) Orders, area clearance, social security number and or similar documents to verify the student status. (b)Certificate of Immunization issued by one of the following medical facilities on Okinawa to verify currency of immunizations: Naval Hospital located at Camp Foster, 18 Wing Medical Group Clinic located on Kadena AB, the Camp Courtney Clinic and the Camp Kinser Clinic. (c) Individualized Education Program (IEP) and any other supporting documentation if the student has been declared eligible for special education service; and student records for previous school(s) to assist proper placement. (d) Passport or birth certificate of student entering school for the first time to verify age. Remember to hand carry all important documents. Please note the sponsor is required to sign enrollment documentation; however enrollment is not denied due to unavailability of sponsor.
It is the policy of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) that a child must be 5 or 6 years of age by September 1st of the enrolling year for entrance into kindergarten and first grade respectively. Entrance into pre-kindergarten or the Sure Start Program must be 4 years of age by September 1st.
The Department of Defense Dependent Schools - Pacific/Okinawa (DoDDS-P/O) operates schools for children from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. There are nearly 8000 students attending the 13 DoD Dependent Schools. These schools have been fully accredited by the AdvancED Accrediting Agency. Our programs must meet the high standards of both DoDDS and AdvancED. There are formal, on site evaluation visits by an AdvancED team every five years with an annual monitoring of all schools regarding the qualifications of each educator and the educational program.
The elementary pupil/teacher ratio is kept close to 18 to 1 for Kindergarten and Grades 1 through 3 and close to 25 to 1 for Grades 4 and 5 In secondary schools, the ratio is approximately 25 to 1.
In addition to the core subjects, art, music, and physical education programs are conducted by teachers fully qualified in these fields. One of the most unique programs in DoDDS is the host nation culture program. The culture teachers in our schools provide Japanese culture and language activities which help our students enjoy and appreciate living overseas. Japanese at the secondary level is in the foreign language department along with Spanish and French.
Standardized test scores for the Okinawa District are available through the DoDEA Data Center.
The Student Transportation Office services students who live on and off base attending one of the thirteen DoDD schools. Bus transportation will be provided only to the school families are zoned for.
The School Meal Program is serviced by the base Exchange. For information on the school meal program, menus and how to sign up, visit http://www.shopmyexchange.com/Community/Schoollunch/. Families who apply and qualify can receive free or reduced priced meals. To apply for free and reduced price benefits, Visit http://www.kadena.af.mil/units/18thmissionsupportgroup.asp.
Parents of students moving to Okinawa should ensure that extended leave and travel time will not jeopardize their child's class standing. Though students can read missed chapters in a book, they cannot duplicate class discussions and projects which enhance understanding and may be a part of semester examinations. For transition support, contact your Kadena School Liaison Officer at 18MSG.email@example.com. You can also request a sponsor for your student at http://www.kadenafss.com/youth-teen/teen-center.
If you have any questions about exceptions, contact DoDEA.
Courses Provided at the Secondary Level
Both high schools offer courses similar to the best stateside secondary schools for students to earn the 26 Carnegie Units necessary for graduation. Over 50% of the DoDDS graduates attend college. Among the graduates are National Merit Scholars and military academy appointees. A number of scholarships for the local American organizations as well as national scholarships are awarded each year to graduating seniors.
The following is a list of after-school activities: Yearbook; Newspaper; Student Council; Instrumental Music; Track; Choral; Music; Drama; Letterman's Club; Cheerleaders; Drill Team; Stage Crew; Radio Club; Football; Tennis: Boys-Girls Intramurals; Boys-Girls Volleyball; Photography; Wrestling; Boys-Girls Basketball; Boys-Girls Soccer; Computer Club; Honor Societies; Ecology Club; and Boys-Girls Cross Country.
Library Facilities Available to Students
All DoD schools have library/media centers that exceed the AdvancED accreditation standards. The library facilities in all schools include extensive collections of library books, audio-visual materials and equipment. Each of the libraries has a computer network which provides student access to information within the school and worldwide. All schools are equipped with a variety of multimedia resources. In addition to DoDDS' libraries, students also have access and use of the base library facilities.
Supplementary Services Available
There are a variety of specialists and programs which supplement and enrich the regular classroom program. All schools are staffed with a guidance counselor, a nurse, a reading improvement specialist, an English As a Second Language (ESL) specialist, compensatory education teacher and a media specialist (librarian). Sure Start, a program targeted for "at risk" children who would benefit from a comprehensive preschool experience is in place in six schools on Okinawa. Additionally, eight school psychologists provide itinerant service to all thirteen schools, and the two work experience coordinators, assigned to the high schools, provide appropriate services to all schools upon request. Advanced placement and Honors classes, JROTC, and AVID are offered at both high schools.
Special Education Program
All children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21 (unless graduated from high school), who are space required are eligible for an appropriate education in the DoD schools.
If you have such dependents in your family, you are required to enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) at your current command. EFMP screenings are required prior to PCS move overseas.
POC: Special Education Coordinator, District Superintendents Office, DSN: 315-634-5575.
Program for Gifted Education
Gifted Education programs are available for students who meet the DoDDS identification criteria by providing evaluative evidence from previous schools that is consistent with the DoDDS criteria. Instructional programs are provided by fully qualified Gifted Ed. resource teachers and the regular classroom teachers.
Other Enrichment Activities
Okinawa has been the host for Pacific Region activities for the Far East Speech and Drama Festival, Far East Boys' Basketball (AA Division) and Cheerleading Competition, the Honors Far East Music Festival and the Far East Computer Contest. In addition, students from Okinawa may compete in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium held in Tsukuba, Japan. Locally, an island wide science fair and spelling bee are held annually.
Standardized Test Scores
Standardized test scores for all schools in the Okinawa District are available through the DoDEA Data Center.
School Advisory Committee (SAC)
There is a SAC at each school, comprised of 50% parents and 50% professional educators (teachers) of the respective schools, to advise the principal on school matters. We believe that parents, teachers, students, DoDDS administrators, and military commanders share the responsibility to work collectively in supporting the schools and to enhance programs. This support is required to improve not only the delivery of educational programs and services to DoDDS students, but also to improve the overall quality of life shared by all personnel in the American overseas communities, of which the schools are an integral part.
We welcome parent volunteers in our schools. Many programs in our schools are enhanced through the time and efforts provided by parents and other interested adults in our community. Please let the school know when you will be available to help and the kind of help you wish to offer. We have active Parent Teacher's Associations in each school that are affiliated with the National PTA in the US.
Please let the school know about work experiences you are willing to share with students or faculty. Some of our resources to reinforce good work habits, academics, and preparation for seeking jobs have come from parent volunteers. We have many teaching materials in our schools, but the next best thing to personal experience is personal interaction.
Kadena's Child Development Programs offer top quality developmental child care services for Kadena's youngest base community members. The early childhood curriculums most important goal is to help children become enthusiastic learners. Children are allowed to learn at their own pace and in ways that are best for them. Children of all active duty military and civilians assigned to or supported by Kadena Air Base have priority consideration for placement. Kadena offers three centers on base:
Niko Niko CDC is located in Bldg. 334 next to the USO.Shima No Ko CDC is located in Bldg. 4081 just inside Gate 3.Wakaba CDC is located in Bldg. 132 near the Olympic Mall.
Each center provides both full and hourly care services for children ages six weeks through five years. Niko Niko and Shima No Ko CDC's offer before and after school care for Kindergarten children ages five and six. A part-day preschool enrichment program is available at the Shima No Ko CDC.
Parents may register their children for care at any of the CDC's or with the coordinator at the Child Care Office by using AF Form 2606. Call DSN: 315-632-7693 for details.
There are a number of off-base preschools in the Kadena area.
There are many opportunities for those wishing to home educate their children while living on Okinawa. There are three support groups (OCHEA, IDEA International, and FISH (Faith in Schooling Homes), as well as, support groups, CO-OP groups and play groups open to all military island-wide.
Okinawa Christian Home Educators Association (OCHEA)
OCHEA consists of a group of approximately 40 families who are currently home schooling. As the name infers, OCHEA is a Christian based support group, with membership open to anyone who is interested in or presently homeschooling. Encouragement, help and services are offered to all, regardless of religious preference.
The Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) operates schools for children K-12 grade. There are 13 DoDD schools on island with 1 primary school (K-2), 1 intermediate school, 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school on Kadena Air Base. For registration information, call the DoDDS Okinawa District Registrar at 011-81-6117-34-1204 or DSN: 315-634-1204. The Air Force School Liaison Officer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 011-81-6117-34-2231or DSN 315-634-2231. For more information on DoDD Schools and transition support, visit http://www.kadena.af.mil/About-Us/DoDDS-School-Liaison/.
For Japanese schools, parents must contact the Board of Education upon their arrival to Okinawa. Call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at DSN: 315-634-3366 for more information. One of the most unique programs in DoDDs is the host nation culture program. The culture teachers in our schools provide Japanese culture and language activities which help our students enjoy and appreciate living overseas. Japanese at the secondary level is in the foreign language department along with Spanish and French.
The Kadena Education Services Center in Building 59 provides educational opportunities, academic guidance counseling, tuition assistance for active-duty military members and their spouses, and educational testing services to military members, family members and Department of Defense civilians.
Opportunities to begin and complete post-secondary certificates, as well as associate, baccalaureate and master's degrees are available at the various colleges and universities offering on-base programs.