Three Delaware City Schools elementaries were included in the latest round of schools to earn a Purple Star designation from the Ohio Department of Education.
The designation, which honors schools that show “a significant commitment to serving students and families connected to our nation’s armed forces,” was given to 263 Ohio schools this year, including Conger Elementary School, Carlisle Elementary School and Smith Elementary.
Smith Principal Jake LeGros said Tuesday he was glad to see the school made the list.
“We are extremely excited to receive this recognition for Smith Elementary!” LeGros said in an email. “This honor would not have been possible without the hard work of our Purple Star Building Committee, consisting of Michele Schwab, Dawna Tompkins, and led by our military liaison and 4th grade math teacher, Christina Hite. By increasing the awareness of families within our community, as well as developing a family network of military branch members, these actions will serve as a foundation for the support we plan to provide our current & new families within our learning community.”
LeGros said the school put several initiatives in place to earn the designation, including creating and sharing lessons with teachers that they could then share with their students in the month of April for Military Child Month, as well as developing a bulletin in the building showcasing all of the school’s service members.
“This will allow us to recognize and honor them and their family’s service,” LeGros said. “We also created an informal Smith Elementary parent military database amongst grade levels to help build a support network of military affiliated families within our Smith Community.”
LeGros said the enrollment system for the district includes a question as well as a check box option to indicate military connections.
“This setting is now accessible to faculty & staff by the district enrollment team, and we are currently in discussion with our district data coordinator, Toby West, on a visual icon (to be) added to the student database profile for quick access for every educator that students are supported by,” LeGros said.
At Conger, the application process was handled by intervention specialist and veteran Ray Eddy.
“I am extremely honored to be a part of an effort to honor, acknowledge and provide help for military families here at Conger Elementary,” Eddy said. “I truly believe that a Purple Star recognition speaks to the school’s character and desire to uplift and support all those who have served this great nation, those who are currently serving stateside or abroad, and their families who know the sheer weight of their service all too well.”
Eddy added he’s happy to be part of the process at the school.
“As a veteran, I feel that it is my utmost privilege to be a point of contact for military families,” he said. “The hardships that many families face when a loved one is deployed is truly heart wrenching. Such an unimaginable burden is then placed on the hearts, minds and shoulders, that many of our students have to silently bear. This is an amazing opportunity to be an agent for positive impact in the lives of our military families.”
Eddy said in order to qualify for the recognition, he had to complete a two-hour professional development course and take part in a discussion on how the school can better engage its military families.
With the addition of Carlisle, Conger and Smith, all schools within the district have earned the Purple Star designation.
“I am so pleased that all of our Delaware City Schools are designated as Purple Star honorees,” said Superintendent Heidi Kegley. “It has been a long tradition in our district to recognize veterans and those who currently serve in our armed forces. We know our military families face unique circumstances, and we are pleased to support our families with enhanced resources and specialty trained staff liaisons who can connect with our military-connected families.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.