Since 2015, the Charles A. Dana Center has been working with the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to advance mathematics education for children on U.S. military bases. To accomplish this goal, the Dana Center provides professional learning for teachers and administrators to deliver consistent, high-quality math instruction to students whose parents are stationed in more than a dozen countries across the globe.
The scope and scale of this initiative require the Dana Center to recruit and prepare nearly 200 International Facilitation Fellows (IFF) annually. Fellows are selected from a national competitive process to join the effort. This summer, we brought our IFF team to Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, Texas, for an intensive four-day academy to prepare them to deliver trainings to DoDEA educators worldwide.
“The opportunity to learn and collaborate from both a tremendous staff at the Dana Center and such a diverse set of educators spanning the country has been the richest professional learning experience I have ever had!” said Isaac Rodenberg, IFF and instructional coach from Iowa. “To top it off, the ability to provide quality and meaningful professional learning to teachers serving the children of our service members is very fulfilling as an American citizen.”
Since military children are highly mobile, with many coping with the added stress of having a parent deployed for duty, the Dana Center’s approach blends strategies for curriculum implementation with guidance to help teachers work with a student population that faces unique challenges along the trajectory from preschool to graduation.
“Serving as an IFF has provided me with the opportunity to gain an insight into the challenges DoDEA educators encounter when educating American students. I feel honored and humbled to be part of the collaborative group working with this prestigious education system,” said Kitty Rutherford, IFF and elementary math consultant from North Carolina.
This year, the Dana Center IFF team facilitated 150 two-day training sessions to over 3,600 DoDEA educators and administrators in 167 schools across 14 countries, including Japan, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Bahrain. We have reached 60,500 students of military families this year alone and impacted over 75,000 students since 2015.
“We are honored to work alongside DoDEA to support children of military families to ensure they are prepared for success in postsecondary education and the contemporary workplace,” said Carolyn Landel, Dana Center managing director. “As we move closer to reaching our goal of all DoDEA students achieving college and career readiness in mathematics, I want to thank our International Facilitation Fellows for their passion, drive, and commitment.”
IFF and independent Edtech/PD consultant Dr. Karen Greenhaus said, “This has been an amazing adventure. Because of the network of colleagues we get to work with, from all over the U.S. and in other countries, I have gained insight into the diversity of mathematics instruction, the power of collaboration, the dedication of math educators to their students and teachers, and now have a global professional learning community whenever I am in need!”
The Dana Center would like to extend our gratitude to Northrop Grumman for sponsoring our International Facilitation Fellows receptions this summer.