USACE Expands DoDEA Mission, Prepares to Outfit More Than 170 Pre-k Classrooms Worldwide

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District recently partnered with the Department of Defense Education Activity to provide furniture and curriculum for DoDEA’s early childhood education program, also referred to as Universal Pre-Kindergarten, or UPK Program.
DoDEA is a federally operated school system, and according to their website, is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating and managing prekindergarten through 12th grade educational programs on behalf of the Department of Defense.

USACE and DoDEA have a long-standing partnership. USACE has been serving as DoDEA’s construction contracting agent, and since 2014, the Louisville District has overseen contract execution and furniture delivery. The Louisville Furniture team provides Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment, also known as FF&E, with the attributes required for the 21st Century style of learning.

“We started with just procuring furniture, but the program has grown into much more,” said Jared Korfhage, Louisville District program manager. “Whatever DoDEA and the school needs, we are there to support. Now, we’re poised and ready to expand our support even further to meet the needs of their growing and anticipated universal pre-kindergarten program.”

DoDEA announced last year, that they would begin implementing full-day, universal prekindergarten in all of their schools over a five-year period starting in school year 2024-2025 contingent upon approval of the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
“DoDEA’s expanded investment in early childhood education recognizes that quality early education is an economic and social advantage for our country and our military families,” said Colleen Crum, Louisville District project manager. “As DoDEA begins phased implementation of expanded full-day pre-kindergarten program throughout their global platform, they have declared their classrooms must be equipped and resourced accordingly. To provide each military connected student with engaging hands-on learning experiences, all classrooms must be equitably furnished, equipped, and resourced.”

The Louisville District team is working closely with DoDEA and their schools to provide outfitting support to implement the furnishing of FF&E and curriculum items for 177 UPK classrooms in 76 elementary schools that will immediately and universally advance DoDEA’s fundamental Pre-Kindergarten platform.

“Currently, we have 72 classrooms in the Pacific, 77 classrooms in Europe and 55 classrooms in the Americas we are working on with DoDEA,” Korfhage said. “It’s a lot of work in a short amount of time, but we are excited and eager to set up all of these UPK classrooms for our military families.”

According to the team, the UPK Classroom Package identifies proven educational items from decades of Blanket Purchase Agreements programmed procurements, programmed by DoDEA’s Educational Instructional System Specialist (ISS) teams and constitutes a quality foundational educational tool to expand DoDEA’s military student’s access to formative educational opportunities.

“DoDEA’s UPK Classroom Package consists of carefully selected FF&E and curriculum items for interior classrooms and outdoor learning spaces. The UPK project implementation expands the Louisville District’s effort to identify equipment that ensures complete and usable DoDEA 21st Century schools,” Crum said.

According to DoDEA, once this program is completed, it will add an estimated 6,000 prekindergarten students in the 60 military communities served by DoDEA schools world-wide, and providing access to pre-kindergarten for all eligible DoDEA families will continue to build on a solid foundation for success in college and careers while supporting military and family readiness for the communities in which DoDEA schools are located. Furthermore, additional growth will occur at other locations over the next few years in schools that could not currently be altered to accommodate new UPK classrooms.

“This is a Department of Defense initiative that will have positive and long-lasting impacts on the morale and welfare of the Soldiers and their families,” said Kevin Jasper, Louisville District Reserve Project Management Branch chief. “We are proud to be a part of the overall team executing the UPK Program for DoDEA.”

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