The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has announced that both Miami Trace Middle School and Miami Trace High School have been recognized as “Purple Star” designees and have been awarded with the recognition as well as use of the Purple Star logo.
According to the ODE website, “The Purple Star Award for military-friendly schools recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military. Schools that earn the award will receive a special Purple Star recognition to display on-site. A school will be honored with the Purple Star Award if it completes all the required activities, plus one optional (activity). The Purple Star Advisory Board, formed by the Ohio departments of Education, Higher Education, Veterans Services and the Adjutant General, helps decide a school’s eligibility for the award.”
In letters to the Miami Trace School District, provided by Superintendent Kim Pittser, ODE explained, “each Child, our future, Ohio’s strategic plan for education, recognizes the importance of supporting the needs of the whole child. To be successful in school and when transitioning between school settings, Ohio’s military-connected youth require particular supports to ensure their unique social, emotional and academic needs are met. The Purple Star award your school is receiving today signifies your school’s demonstrated commitment to serving these students and their families.
“In fact, Ohio’s Purple Star Advisory Board has established a set of important criteria that schools must meet in order to be considered for a Purple Star designation. It gives me great pride to announce that your school has not only met but, in many cases, exceeded these criteria. Each Purple Star designation is valid for three years. As such, your school may apply for a designation renewal in 2024.”
The optional activities schools can take part in for the award, according to the website, include providing professional development for staff regarding special considerations for military students and families, the passage of a resolution by the local school board publicizing the school’s support for military children and families, and hosting a military recognition event that demonstrates a military-friendly culture.
The required activities, according to the website, include maintaining a page on the school website dedicated to resources for military families, and having a staff member act as a point of contact for military students and families. This point of contact would be serving as a primary liaison between the military students/families and the school.
“The liaison completes professional development on special considerations for military students and families under federal law. The ‘Military Children in Ohio’s Schools’ course is available on the ODE learning management system and may be used to complete this requirement. The liaison identifies and informs teachers of the military-connected students in their classrooms and the special considerations military families and students should receive,” explains the website.
Miami Trace Middle School Principal Jason Binegar wrote via email, “Miami Trace Middle School is extremely pleased to become a Purple Star School. This program will assist military-connected children as they relocate to new schools due to a parent’s change in duty station. Our military makes great sacrifices on a daily basis, and this is one way our school can say ‘thank you’ and offer assistance to these special families. The Purple Star Liaisons for Miami Trace Middle School will be SSG Aaron Hauer, teacher, and myself, Jason Binegar, Principal.”
According to Miami Trace High School Principal Bryan Sheets and Assistant Principal Ryan Davis, “Miami Trace High School has always valued the importance of recognizing our veterans and our local connections to the armed forces. Through the years, we have celebrated and honored veterans and active military members with our Veterans Day celebration which consists of a breakfast for all active duty military and veterans followed by the Veterans Day Assembly. Guest speakers have presented to the student body sharing their experiences in the military and how it shaped their lives. We also recognize our veterans during sporting events and even the creation of a MTHS student database for those who have served our great country. We hope to continue these activities in the future and find new ways to appreciate all the military members who defend our freedoms.”
General information on the award and for military families can be found on the Miami Trace school website, www.miamitrace.k12.oh.us/MilitaryFamilyResources.aspx.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.