See what school districts military families send their kids to in Dayton area

Military families choose schools close and as far as 30 miles from Wright-Patterson, with high academic achievements

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Beavercreek and Mad River schools have the largest enrollment of students who are children of military personnel but a Dayton Daily New examination found military families are choosing districts from throughout the region.

An analysis of Ohio Department of Education and Workforce data shows Beavercreek counted 905 of the roughly 7,803 students enrolled in the 2022-2023 school year from military families, or about 12%. About 16% of Mad River’s 3,731 students that same year were from military families, or 479 students.

Districts like Springboro or Centerville, located more than 30 miles away from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Northmont, located nearly 25 miles away, have several hundred children from military families.

Education officials say military families are much like other families transferring for job reasons when it comes to them deciding on a school district: They’re looking for schools with good academic programs and are willing to drive farther to get to work.

Beavercreek and Mad River schools are located in close proximity to Wright-Patterson and have been top choice for years among transferring military families.

Beavercreek’s military student population is more evenly distributed around the district, while Mad River’s is heavily concentrated in Beverly Gardens Elementary. More than half of Beverly Garden’s students – 55% - were military connected in the 2022-2023 school year, according to the ODEW data.

Chad Wyen, Mad River’s superintendent, noted that there are many Beverly Gardens families who are military connected because that elementary school serves The Prairies at Wright Field, a military housing community.

“Beverly Gardens serves all K-4 students who live in base housing in (Mad River Local Schools), which is why they have so many connected students – well over 50%,” he said.

Beavercreek attracts many military families as it is close to Wright Patterson Air Force Base but also has a strong academic reputation, said Jeff Madden, director of student services at Beavercreek. Part of Madden’s job is helping military families find their footing in the district.

Starting this year, all Beavercreek’s schools are Purple Star schools, a designation from the state of Ohio that indicates military-friendly schools.

“We have points of contact in all of our buildings where families can ask questions to that person, get quick responses, get put in contact with resources, learn the different clubs and activities that are in that school,” he said. “Having that visible on our website, accessible to families, puts them at ease as they transition to a new school system.”

Other districts that have a high percentage of military kids include Oakwood, Bellbrook, Bethel Local, Fairborn, Springboro, Huber Heights, Northmont and Centerville.

Centerville, Fairborn and Springboro all have around 270 military students, according to the data, but Centerville and Springboro have higher student populations overall compared to Fairborn.

Supporting military families

Mad River and Beavercreek both have military family life counselors, who can help families transitioning to the new school. Those are people employed by Wright-Patterson and who work in the schools.

Wright Patterson’s school liaison works closely with all the schools in the area, Wyen said, and assists military families.

Wyen noted Beverly Gardens has a club called Anchored4Life Peer to Peer club, which is meant to support military students transitioning into the school, with family members leaving for military missions, and feeling connected to the school.

Both Madden and Wyen said there aren’t special sign-ups for military families, but both districts said they’ve tried to ease sign-ups for families.

“We certainly see turnover with some of our military families and we try to support them in that transition coming in,” Madden said. “We support them in that transition leaving the school as well.”

By the numbers

10 local school districts with the highest number of enrolled military-connected students in 2022-2023

Beavercreek – 905

Mad River - 479

Fairborn – 271

Springboro – 270

Centerville – 268

Oakwood – 251

Bellbrook - 194

Bethel Local – 183

Huber Heights – 159

Northmont – 129

Source: Ohio Department of Education and Workforce

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