STUTTGART, Germany – With the aid of a dozen students armed with scissors, Patch Elementary School
cut the ribbon to the Department of Defense Education Activity’s (DoDEA) newest 21 st Century School,
Thursday, Oc. 27.
DoDEA’s 21 st Century School project aims to provide cutting edge facilities and education concepts to
military schools worldwide. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in Europe alone $1.6B has
been earmarked for the construction of 28 new schools. Patch Elementary is the 15 th new school since
“This [school] creates an opportunity to better collaborate with each other,” said Patch
Elementary Principal Sonja Rodriguez. “The teachers can provide better quality instructions for
The new 113,500 square foot, 550 student school has six neighborhood areas with learning
studios, learning hubs, group learning, and one-on-one spaces. Moveable walls within each
neighborhood create flexible and adaptable spaces.
DoDEA spokesman Steve Smith said while the school is specifically designed to embrace new
teaching concepts it also emphasizes the usage of technology from a young age.
“You cannot expose children to technology early enough, so our children from the age of
kindergarten to fifth grade have some kind of element of technology in their education that’s
involved in their education process,” he said.
Rodriguez said since the school only opened up this August it will take a while for both teachers
and children to get used to it.
“Adapting to this new concept will take time,” she said. “Some children have adapted faster than
Fourth grader Mina White, 10, is one of those early adopters.
“It’s really nice and big and you get to see new faces every day,” she said with a big smile on
As the ceremony came to a close the students took the day’s guests on a tour of their brand
new school, including Deputy Head of Bundesbau (federal construction) Baden-Wuerttemberg
who quipped, “[the school] is the most important building, so it should be a nice building.”