First day in public school in Korea – DODEA Daegu Elementary School and Daegu Middle High School

Are you ready to go to school and meet new friends?


I’m pretty excited to see how your day will go.

I’m not. I want to stay home with you.

Well, it’s the end of September 2018 for us and the first day of public school after a whirlwind move from Virginia to South Korea. My kids headed off today to two different schools, on two different military installations. One is a 5th grader going to Daegu Elementary School currently located on Camp George, Daegu, South Korea. (This school will be combining with the Daegu Middle/High School within 2 years.) The other, my son, is a 6th grader going to Daegu Middle/High School (Daegu MHS; a 6th – 12th grade school) on Camp Walker, Daegu, South Korea.

We are currently still looking for a permanent place to live (housing) so we are staying in post lodging (guest lodging) at Camp Walker Lodging. If you are incoming to Area IV, you want to be sure to make reservations here as soon as possible. This is an extremely convenient location to live while you are looking for off-post apartments or waiting on housing space to open up. (See blog- Moving to South Korea- things to know for Military families – editing it now.)

Picked up for school today… no it’s not your typical yellow school bus. However, there is a yellow ‘school bus’ sign!!

Registering for school

Registering for school here was easy once we arrived here in country. (Unfortunately, we did not hear back from the school liaison even though I emailed and called before arriving and when we were in Camp Humphreys in-processing. (I heard she is very busy and wears multiple hats.) This was our experience.) So I’ll just share with you here now in case you too have lots of questions like I did about registering your children here and going to school overseas.

Registering is easy to do.  In fact, as soon as we got off the bus from Camp Humphreys (everyone who arrives to Korea will in-process at Camp Humphreys first – check back to read my blog on things to know when moving to Korea.  On “Day 5” of in-processing, you will be transported to your assigned duty area.  Daegu (Camp Walker, Camp George (closing soon I heard), Camp Henry and then also Camp Carroll) is in Area IV.) we were able to check into Lodging, our excellent sponsor came right away to pick us up and we immediately went to both schools to register our children. We were able to register each of them, get a bus pass for one and complete a school tour all within 3 hours, which was great!!

You will need, at minimum, the following to register your children:

Orders – pinpoint orders that show Daegu or the post in Area IV you are assigned, orders that show how long you will be here (2 years?), command sponsorship orders that show your children’s names on them.

Command Sponsorship approval memorandum (only the Daegu Elementary School asked for this)

Immunization Records. We received a printout of all of their shots at our last duty station before arriving and hand carried them with us.

Two names and Korean phone numbers for two different families who can pick up your children in an event of an emergency. We used our sponsor for one of them and I knew another family already that was here that agreed to be used for this.

Name and contact information (phone and address) for someone stateside in the event of an emergency.

You will fill out a lot of paperwork at each school. It may be good to have on hand the following, but it probably won’t prevent you from registering if you do not have them yet…

A Korean phone number

Your APO AP address (see other blog – it’s coming about things to know when moving to Korea)

School records from their previous schools.

Addresses for previous school / school board so that request for records can be submitted.

In our situation, our children had been homeschooled for the past 3 years so be prepared to answer a few questions about the laws in your state. (Yes, there ARE homeschoolers in Korea! We decided to try public school in conjunction with our move. I can share why in a future post.) Provide transcripts if you have them or in my case, I submitted yearly standardized test scores to my previous board of education so I thought it would be helpful to also provide copies of those to their new schools. I didn’t have them on me at the time so I ended up emailing them to their school counselors / admissions the next day.  This can be helpful with placing your children in the appropriate classrooms (if there is space) or in giving a heads up if they need to be in special programs such as remedial or gifted programs.

Provide any other important information: allergies, medications, IEP etc.

You will receive:

Once you completely register, you will receive a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Student ID# ( a 10 digit number) per child from the registrar. You will need this number to set up a lunch account and to be enrolled for the bus amongst other things.

You can also ask to receive a school orientation, which they are happy to do for you and your child. I found this personalized time very helpful and informative to see and hear what they will be doing during their time in school here.

School Transportation

Registering for school gives you a Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) Student ID# (a 10 digit number that you receive after completely registering) and basic information including the address of where you are staying.

For us, still at Camp Walker Lodging, that meant that our daughter going to school on Camp George needed to ride the bus. So her photo was taken after her information was entered into the system and a bus pass was created for her to attach to her book bag. The bus pass has her photo on it as well as the time of pick up and drop off. Her bus to school picked her up right in front of the hotel at 6:55 am, which was very convenient. (Elementary school hours are from 7:30 am – 2 pm. EXCEPT for Tuesdays, they get out at 12:50 pm.)

My son, attending the school on base, the Daegu MHS, walked to school. We timed it in our practice walk and it is only a 15 minute walk to get there with only one turn on the way. (The Middle/High school hours are 8:30 am – 3 pm. EXCEPT for Tuesdays, school is released at 2 pm.)

When we do get an address to move out of the Camp Walker Lodging, we will need to revisit here to obtain new bus passes from our new address, if we need them.

Headed downstairs from Camp Walker Lodging to walk 15 minutes to school.

School Meals

The paperwork we received says that “ALL students, including Sure Start and those eligible for Free and Reduced meals, MUST have a LUNCH ACCOUNT.”

To sign up for this, you will need to go to the AAFES PX with the following:

Names of children, phone number, unit of sponsor

DODEA Student ID# (one per child)

Payment to be put into their account. (We just put $50 per child for now.)

Once enrolled you will receive a 6 digit pin number that they will use to pay for their lunches.

Lunch for my 5th grader is at 10:15am! (see Daegu School schedules blog for more info)

Lunch for all middle schoolers is at 12:05 pm or 12:15 pm (on Tuesdays).

Remember to give your children the pin numbers! I wrote it down for them to keep in their bag until they can memorize it.


More school info here

Please check this next blog, DoDEA Daegu Middle High School & Daegu Elementary School sample schedules, to see what their schedules will look like as they start school and for additional information.

Stay tuned!

If you are here because of a military move to South Korea, check back later as I am editing a blog post on “Moving to South Korea – things to know for military families” that I hope would be useful especially for those just moving here as we are. *** This is not “official information” just sharing of our experiences. Please check out the links provided and do your own research! *** I hope you find this useful and helpful; let me know your thoughts!

Subscribe to follow our journey as a family of four moving for the first time from the United States to South Korea!

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