Department of Defense Education Activity logo with text that reads Department of Defense Education Activity awards PWCS with $1 million grant

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Military Connected Academic Support Program has awarded Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) with a $1 million grant. This substantial grant, known as Operation Strong Hearts and Minds, is dedicated to aiding approximately 8,000 students in schools with a significant military-connected student population. These schools include Ashland, Covington-Harper; Henderson, Kyle Wilson, Leesylvania, Marshall, Mary Williams, Old Bridge, Springwoods, and Westridge Elementary Schools. The four-year initiative will be implemented from 2025-28.

The objective of Operation Strong Hearts and Minds is twofold: to establish or reinforce advanced science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills among military-connected students and to fortify their social-emotional skills. The grant funding will facilitate the development and deployment of portable STEM stations that seamlessly integrate social-emotional learning into science instruction. Engaging in collaborative, hands-on science experiences will empower students to not only enhance their academic proficiency but also cultivate vital social-emotional skills, setting them on the path to lifelong success.

The proposed activities of Operation Strong Hearts and Minds are aligned with the PWCS Vision 2025 Launching Thriving Futures Strategic Plan and its core commitments, focusing on delivering academic excellence, ensuring comprehensive learning and achievement for all, and fostering a positive climate and culture.

“PWCS has actively pursued DoDEA grants since 2013 and has been awarded over $4 million over the last 10 years because of the collaboration, perseverance, and creativity of individuals who are committed to addressing the needs of our military population. The underlying goal of each of these grants has been to provide additional resources and opportunities to develop skills that will prepare military-connected students to be highly competitive and productive citizens who can compete on a global level regardless of where their families are stationed,” shared Dr. Deborah Ransom, PWCS DoDEA project director.

The DoDEA is a field activity of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. DoDEA's mission is to plan, direct, coordinate, and manage the education programs for eligible dependents of U.S. military personnel and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense. The DoDEA has congressional authority to provide resources to public schools to support the continuity of education for military-connected students through a competitive grant program. DoDEA’s vision of “Excellence in education for every student, every day, everywhere” is realized through this partnership with public school districts.