SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) is located in the province of Hainaut and near the village of Casteau, which is approximately fifty kilometers south-southwest of Brussels, Belgium. SHAPE is currently composed of NATO member countries and additional Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations, making it one of the most culturally unique military settings in the world. SHAPE American Elementary School (SAES) exists to educate not only children of the American military but also the children of other NATO and PfP nations. Additionally, the school coordinates with eleven other nations on the international installation.
The SHAPE schools were established as a result of the move of SHAPE from France to Belgium in April 1967. The schools derive their organizational structure from an agreement between the Belgian government and the Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe. This agreement provides for an international school board responsible for the organization and administration of the SHAPE schools. The board is composed of one representative from each of the NATO nations with children in the schools. National school units are sponsored by Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany.
The original U. S. Elementary Section was located in a two-story wing with twenty-two classrooms, a media center, supply room, project room, host nation teachers’ area, speech therapist room, and reading specialist room. In an adjoining corridor were the BENEDOR IMC, teacher lounge/work area, rooms for learning disabilities and English as a Second Language instruction, and offices of the principal, assistant principal, counselor, and school secretary. Shared facilities for the school included the cafeteria, gymnasium, nurse’s suite, international teachers’ lounge, and a kindergarten/nursery center. A two-level international playground served all the elementary sections.
In the eighties the school enrollment grew from 600 to 700 students. The enrollment remained consistent through the mid-nineties when it dropped to 560 students.
SHAPE Elementary School was named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School. This honor is bestowed on schools for high academic achievement, as measured by performance on state assessments or nationally normed tests.
In August 2014, SHAPE American Elementary School moved into its brand-new building with an area of over 114,057 square feet. The current facility houses over fifty-eight classrooms. There are currently 600 students enrolled in preschool through fifth grade. Americans make up just over half of the student population with NATO and PfP students comprising the remaining portion. SHAPE has the most diverse population among the eleven nation schools on SHAPE.
The school colors are green and yellow, and the school mascot is the Knight.
The administrators for the 2021-22 school year were principal Dr. Seth Stillman and assistant principal Ms. Chi Anne McGrew.
Information from DoDDS School Information Guides and websites