Official website: http://www.state.gov/m/a/os/
A list of overseas schools that are able to accommodate special needs and/or gifted children is available here (PDF).
Every Foreign Service parent knows that the quality of education available overseas is a major factor to be considered in the bidding process. If you are being posted overseas, have school-age children, and need information on schooling, then the Office of Overseas Schools should be your first point of contact.
For more than 39 years, the Office of Overseas Schools, familiarly known as A/OPR/OS (“A” stands for the Bureau of Administration, “OPR” for the Office of Operations and “OS” for Overseas Schools) has been working to ensure that the best possible educational opportunities are available for dependents of U.S. Government personnel stationed abroad and that parents have as much as information as possible. This effort ensures that there will will be minimal interruption in your child’s education.
Six Regional Education Officers, generally known as “REOs”, are your resources. They are educators with previous experience in various sectors of the education community – public school systems, university campuses, foreign aid education programs and from overseas schools themselves.
Each REO is assigned a specific geographic region. On average, they spend three to five weeks twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, traveling in their area visiting posts and schools, talking with parents and students. They deal with parental educational concerns, issues of adequacy of schools, accreditation, the opening of new schools and programs for children with special needs, among other things. When not traveling, the REOs continue to be deeply involved in educational issues concerning overseas schools. On any given day, they may be advising parents on what educational opportunities are available overseas, helping them locate schools, offering programs for children with special needs, briefing a new Ambassador, DCM or administrative officer on what educational issues at a post, or arranging for a consulting specialist to visit a school.
The schools assisted by A/OPR/OS, 185 in school year 2002-2003, are independent, non-profit, non-denominational schools established on a cooperative basis by U.S. citizens residing in foreign communities. They vary widely in historical background, size and complexity, facilities, funding, governance, student body compositions and faculty size. They range from tiny primary
schools with less than a dozen students to large K-12 schools with enrollments exceeding 2,600. The Department does not operate or control these schools. Ownership and policy control are typically in the hands of associations of parents who elect school boards to develop policy and select administrators to oversee day-to-day operations.
How Can A/OS Help You?
- REOs are a font of information on schools. Having visited schools in their regions and conferred with directors, they can help you find
a good match for your children.
- The Office of Overseas Schools provides information on both an Internet website (http://www.state.gov/m/a/os) and an Intranet website. Each site includes a fact sheet for each overseas American-sponsored school and a link to the school’s website if available.
- A CD-ROM with information on on over 600 overseas schools – preschools, elementary and high schools, and boarding schools is available upon request.
- The Office of Overseas Schools has a Resource Center with information such as year books, newsletters, school profiles, and a few videotapes.
the Office of Overseas Schools by telephone at 202-261-8200; by fax at: 202-261-8224; or by e-mailing OverseasSchools@state.gov.
Visit us at 2401 E Street, N.W., (SA-1) Room H328, Washington, D.C, 20522-0132. The resource center and office are open from 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM.