GEARY COUNTY, Kan. – Geary County Schools USD 475 is celebrating the one-year anniversary of implementing a pilot of the Military Child Education Coalition’s (MCEC) Purple Star School Program within its schools, making the district the first in the state of Kansas to do so.
This program helps schools “respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges military-connected children face during their transition to a new school,” according to the MCEC’s website, preparing students for their next step in life, whether that be college, the workforce, or the next grade level.
“I’m very excited about this program,” Superintendent Dr. Reginald Eggleston said. “The Purple Star School Program recognizes Geary County Schools for the great work we are doing in support of our military students and families, while also reinforcing the partnership we have with Fort Riley.”
The requirements the district is fulfilling in each of its schools to be considered a Purple Star School include, per the MCEC’s website:
• Designating a staff Point of Contact (POC) for military students and families. The POC serves as the primary link between the military family and the school. The individual can be a counselor, administrator, teacher, or another staff member.
• Establish and maintain a dedicated page on its website featuring information and resources for military families.
• Partnering with the Fort Riley Liaison Officer, Sandy Johnson, to provide professional development for additional staff on special considerations for military students and families.
• A commitment by the school to hold a school-wide military recognition event. This will be done during each individual school’s Freedom Walks on Sept. 10, where they recognized the men and women in uniform for their service on 9/11, as well as at the Junction City High School’s home football game on
Oct. 7. As a token of the district’s appreciation, all active-duty members of the military can attend the game for free.
• Passage by the school division’s school board of a resolution publicizing support for military students and families.
• Each school has a public military display. The display is any public demonstration of military support, such as a tribute wall for military-connected students and families, a memorial, a bulletin board, a special Purple Star Schoolroom, or other recognition of the military.
• Each school has special celebration activities for the Month of the Military Child in April.