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DoDEA Pilot Program enters second trial month at Maxwell Elementary/Middle School

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jackson Manske
  • Air University Public Affairs

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.-- Maxwell Elementary/Middle School students returned to class for the new school year Aug. 9, 2021, and due to the DoDEA pilot program, this is the first year that students living outside of the installation have been able to attend class at MEMS with their on-base peers.

There are currently 360 students enrolled at MEMS, and more than 50 of those students have been enrolled under the Pilot Program, according to MEMS principal, Jamie Pittman.

Maj. Andrew Herzog, a Deputy Staff Judge Advocate and father of two, heard about the Pilot Program from his sponsor before PCSing to Maxwell in July. After researching the program, Herzog decided to submit an application for his sons, Gavin and Gabriel, to attend MEMS.

“I'd never heard of it before, but I think it’s a pretty unique idea and I’m interested to see how it pans out throughout the year… I’m confident the kids are happy with it,” said Herzog. “You have military kids that can find commonality and build social relationships. I think that the other part is the fact that they're offering in-person, which helps with my job flexibility and my wife’s job flexibility, and we’re just grateful for the opportunity.”

“These students are thriving and have become a part of our Maxwell family...We are super excited to be the first school to utilize this program,” said Pittman. “We don't delineate between Pilot and non-pilot students, they're all the same. So we're going to give them the best education that they could possibly get.”

DoDEA reviews applications on a quarterly basis and continues to extend invitations to family members based on priority, grade level and expected capacity . As a reminder, MEMS must maintain openings for students living on Maxwell-Gunter, so MEMS staff will review and approve Pilot Program applications and then fill seats that are available.

“I am delighted that DoDEA selected MEMS as the first site for this exciting pilot program,” said Col. Eries Mentzer, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. “Providing military families access to high quality public education is essential to making Maxwell AFB and Gunter Annex an assignment of choice. Given the high demand, we will continue to partner with DoDEA on the program and hope to further expand enrollment in the coming years.”

More information on the MEMS Pilot Program, and a link to the application, is available at