NAWS China LakeCommunity



Public School

The Sierra Sands United School District provides educational needs for all valley residents. Originally many schools in the district were located on the base but progressively the newer schools have been built off center, leaving only two schools still within the China Lake gates.

Public and private grade schools are available in the community. Special education, before and after school programs, supplemental/free/reduced lunch programs, busing, summer programs and learning camps, gifted/exceptional education programs, all of these are available within the area. For more detailed information about special programs please visit the Sierra Sands Unified School District website, which provides phone numbers of specific departments within the SSUSD. For more information on grading scales and testing scores, please visit the SSUSD website.

Ridgecrest, CA currently has 6 Elementary Schools. Academics Performance Index Report can be found on this website.

Adult Education

China Lake has an Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Campus located within the Fleet & Family Support Center 0610 Blandy Ave, Building 02308.

NAWS China Lake’s Navy College Office (NCO) has closed as of 01OCT10.  We will be working with NCO in Pt. Mugu/Huneme. For more information please call 805-989-8362.

Local Schools

How do I choose a school?

Choosing the right school for children is a priority for military families. Whether you are assigned living quarters or have a choice of where to live, it is important to explore all educational options to discover the proper match for each child. All parents want the best possible education for their children. Students have different learning styles and needs. Children within the same family may not learn in the same way or at the same rate. Finding the right educational setting for each child requires a careful examination of various options that are available to students and their families.

“Choosing a School for your Child”, a publication of the U.S. Department of Education offers a series of checklists and pertinent questions to assist parents in making the right choices.

What schools are in my area (or in the area where I may move)?

Several high quality commercial tools are available to assist in making decisions about which school to choose for your child.

GreatSchools offers listings of 200,000 public and private schools serving students from preschool through high school and more than 800,000 parent ratings and reviews. GreatSchools also has a new program called College Bound, an online approach to helping parents raise college-ready high school graduates. 

Designed for military students, their families and the caring professionals who support them, SchoolQuest is an educational resource tool from the Military Child Education Coalition. It is meant to facilitate the search for new schools and centralize resources.

It’s also a secure storage site for students’ educational, extra-curricular, award, volunteer and work information. Please note, though, that is NOT a replacement for a school transcript. It can be viewed as a safe, centralized virtual “file drawer” where a student (or parent) can keep track of all the details that are so difficult to organize, but so necessary when students move or apply for college, jobs or military service.

In addition, SchoolQuest guests are granted access to research and time-tested information about successful educational transitions.

Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense to service members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns including money management, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, relocation, deployment, reunion, and the particular concerns of families with special-needs members.

How can I help plan for a successful transition in this new school and for my child’s school career?

Parents often want to know about the availability of extracurricular activities and sports, or the availability of advanced classes. For these questions, it is best to contact the schools directly. It is important to ask the right questions. The following resources can help with these questions and others.

Military Child Education Coalition

Military Impacted Schools Association

Overseas Schools

Overseas Schools — What You Should Know

Moving your family from one installation to another in the U.S. can be challenging enough; but moving your family overseas presents an even more complex situation. One of the most important challenges can be summed up by this question, “Where are my children going to go to school?”

This article will provide resources to help guide military families through the many questions and decisions regarding local schools abroad.

Where do I start?

Start with the information on your new installation. Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and review the installation’s Education – article. All of the overseas installations have dedicated a portion of the Education article to discussing the education options available in the local community as well as the DoD schools located on the installation, if available. Most installations overseas that allow accompanied family travel have one or more DoD schools.

What is the difference between a DoD school and an international or national school?

DoDEA is the Department of Defense Education Activity. DoDEA operates DoD schools in 12 foreign countries, Guam and Puerto Rico. All DoDEA schools are fully accredited by U.S. accreditation agencies and maintain high academic standards with well-rounded educational programs. Visit the DoDEA School Report Card website to find a detailed discussion of each DoD School.

In addition to DoDEA, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Overseas Schools mission is to promote quality educational opportunities for dependents of American citizens overseas at the elementary and secondary level. If a DoD school is not available on your installation there may be a school in the local community that is an American-Sponsored Elementary and Secondary School.

International schools are English-language schools whereas National schools are schools where coursesare taught in the native language. The curriculum and grading system of an International school tends to be similar to the traditional American education system. This is a consideration if your family will be returning to the U.S. prior to your child or children graduating high school. Remember, when choosing a school it is best to try to match the school with your child’s needs and expectations.

Where can I find a list of International schools in the country where my family is moving?

The Internet can be an excellent resource for finding International Schools overseas. You can find a complete directory of overseas schools on the International Schools Services’ website.

In addition, the World Wide Schools website is an excellent resource. From the homepage you can select the country. Once you have done this, a list of schools will appear and you can then choose which one you are interested in researching. All of the information appearing on this website is provided by the schools directly. Some of the information you may find on a school includes: a background summary about the school, the school’s address, phone number, website, and even the email address of the director of the school. This information should be explored so that you can make comparisons with other International schools in the area to determine the best place for your child/children.

How do I decide what school is best for my child?

This process is much the same as it would be in the U.S. You may not have as many choices but it is important to make a list of possible schools and then begin to ask around. This is a daunting task since it is likely that there will be a language barrier. However, talk to the Relocation Personnel in the Family Center and your sponsor at your new installation who may be able to put you in touch with other families with children around the same age as your child/children. Always contact the school directly and ask for references.

Once you have narrowed down your options, interview the school or schools directly. This is best done in person, if possible. Ask about: attendance, atmosphere, curriculum; grading system, tuition, accreditations, the staff and administration; as well as other practical details such as, does the school provide meals, what types of extra curricular programs are available, is there transportation, holidays and schedule, sports programs, before and after school care programs, and how is the facility maintained.

Now that I have chosen a school, how do I successfully facilitate the transition for my child?

A successful transition should be a priority during planning the move and once the move has been completed. The more knowledge you provide your child with, the more confident he/she will feel once he/she arrives at the new school. Allow your child to be a part of the decision making process, if he/she is old enough, and take his/her opinions into account.

MilitaryStudent provides several valuable tools to facilitate the transition process. Although many of these tools are not geared specifically to an international move the resources provided do apply to any military student transitioning to a new school in the U.S. or overseas.

College/ Technical Training

Installation Education Center


Please be aware that the China Lake, CA Navy College Office (NCO) has closed permanently as of 1OCT10 and there will no longer be a NCO representative onboard NAWS. Applications for TA will be submitted online from now on and the FFSC will provide a step by step process sheet for those interested. The FFSC will certainly assist members with this process however we can. A test proctor will still be available for those who need test proctors. We do apologize sincerely for the inconvenience this might cause but NC Rep’s at the NCO headquarters office will be available by phone during normal working hour’s onboard NAS Lemoore and Pt. Mugu installations. We hope this does not defer you from furthering your education in the US Armed Forces. Please call the FFSC at DSN 312-437-4545 or commercial 760-939-4545 for further information. The Navy College Program (NCP) provides opportunities to military members to earn college degrees by providing academic credit for military training, work experience, and off-duty education. The NCP mission is to enable Sailors and Marines in reaching his or her educational goal, and/or obtain a college degree while on active duty.

The primary function of the Navy College Office is to counsel and advise Navy and Marine Corp members on all matters relating to academic programs, authorize tuition assistance, and administer “on-base” education programs.

All active duty member’s should stop by the Navy College Office before enrolling in a college program or paying for a class to make sure they have considered all possible options. Dependents are also welcome to many of the services that the Navy College Office provides.

College Classes

There are a number of academic programs available on station. Colleges that are currently represented are Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Embry Riddle Aeronautical University offers programs leading to an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics or a Technical Management Bachelors. They also offer classes for the Master of Aeronautical Sciences with specializations in Aviation/Aerospace Management Specialization and Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems Specialization. Classes are held right here on base and are open to everyone, both military and civilians. On site accelerated classes, low tuition, convenient class schedules, and financial assistance are available.

An ERAU representative is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5:30 pm (except Flex Fridays) for registration and counseling at the Fleet and Family Support Center, 610 Blandy Ave, Room A, Building 02308. For more information please call 760-939-4557.


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