ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Aug. 28, 2009) -- More than 80,000 students will soon begin the 2009-2010 school year in Department of Defense Education Activity schools around the world.

Many of the schools in the United States have already begun classes and many overseas begin Aug. 31.

DoDEA manages pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade education programs for Defense Department family members at schools located in Europe, the Pacific, the Untied States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico and Guam. DoDEA operates 191 schools configured into 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, and two U.S. territories.

This year, construction will be complete for four new schools or additions in these locations for the beginning of the school term:

Aca,!Ac Osan Middle School: This project constructed a new three-story 96,940-square-foot middle school for 350 students at Osan Air Base, Korea. The project included a three-level parking structure with rooftop athletic facilities, and adjacent athletic field. The $18-million project was completed in June.

Aca,!Ac Fort Knox High School: This $18.1 million dollar project replaced the older portion of the existing school and included 20 classrooms, media center, and cafeteria. Renovations were also completed on the existing gymnasium.

Aca,!Ac Delalio Gym and Music Room: A new 6500-square-foot gym and music room was completed during the summer for Delalio Elementary School at Camp Lejeune, N.C. This facility replaces several temporary facilities and provides a much needed remedy to a substandard physical education facility.

Aca,!Ac Virtual School Hubs: Both of these time-sensitive, high-priority projects were completed in time for the beginning of the 2009-2010 School Year:

o Camp Humphreys, Korea: This school was established within the new Education Center building located on Camp Humphreys.

o Wiesbaden, Germany: This school was established in the American Arms, co-located with the DoDEA-Europe Area Office.

One goal of DoDEA this year is to increase parental participation in the GradeSpeed program, officials said.

GradeSpeed is a Web-based program that enables parents to log-in to view grade and attendance data for their student(s). GradeSpeed will be the only authorized and supported grade book used by DoDEA employees in Grades 4-12.

All teachers have secure access to GradeSpeed through the use of an Internet browser. Teachers use the grade-book portion of GradeSpeed to enter assignments, grades, and to maintain grade calculations. Teachers are also able to e-mail progress reports to parents through GradeSpeed.

GradeSpeed makes communication between parents and teachers easier, more effective and timelier, DoDEA officials said. Since GradeSpeed is Web-based, the program can be accessed from anywhere, they said. Even parents who are deployed will be able to stay informed and involved in their child's academic through the program.

Parents can access GradeSpeed via the Parent Portal. Parents must register at: to establish a personal GradeSpeed access account. After their account has been established, parents will be able to login to view grade and attendance data only for their student. They will also be able to view school announcements and calendar events.

There is also a note feature available in GradeSpeed that parents can use to directly contact their student's teachers.