HUDSON — East Woods Elementary School was recently named a Purple Star School by the Ohio Department of Education.
The designation is given to schools that have been shown to support students in military families.
This is the second school in the district to be given this recognition, said Sheryl Sheatzley, manager of communications and alumni outreach.
"The high school received it two years ago," Sheatzley said. "Schools must apply individually, the awards are not given to a district as a whole. There is a full set of criteria that has to be met in the application process. East Woods started the process last year."
Jeff Morris, the assistant principal at the school, said there are several criteria a school must meet to receive the Purple Star recognition.
"In order to be designated as a Purple Star School, East Woods, in conjunction with the district, had to do several things," Morris said. "First, the board passed a resolution, publicizing the district’s support for military families. Next, we had to participate in military friendly programs; so for Veteran’s Day, we had students interview veterans for a Veteran’s Day video."
East Woods also participates in several other activities to support its military-connected students, Morris said. This includes:
• An annual East Woods flag made up of stars, with each star containing the name of a military family member of a current East Woods student;
• Hosting a fundraiser, where students collected socks and gloves for local veterans;
• The elementary school participated in hosting a military appreciation night at a football game.
In addition, the district created a public military display, which rotates among the schools, Morris said. The display includes the names of Hudson residents who fought in World War I.
The school is "in the process of forming a lunchtime support group for students who are children of active military parents," Morris said.
Sheatzley said that the district also has a web page for military families, which can be found at https://www.hudson.k12.oh.us, under the For Families tab.
To receive the Purple Star Award, schools must have a liaison between military-connected students and their families and the school. The liaison informs teachers of the military-connected students in their classrooms and the special considerations military families and students should receive.
In announcing the awards, Gov. Mike DeWine said school communities have made a commitment to support students "inside and outside the classroom.
"Purple Star Schools are shining examples of Ohioans working together, encouraging one another, caring for one another and, ultimately, creating a brighter future for our state."
About 35,000 Ohio students, including the children of active duty, reserve and Ohio National Guard families, have one or more parents serving in the military.
"Our school communities are in a unique position to offer essential supports to ensure these students are prepared for success and their families are cared for and appreciated," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC