Northmont High School was named a Purple Star School by the Ohio Department of Education on Friday. Left to right: Sheree Coffman, military liason; Paolo DeMaria, ODE Superintendent of Public Instruction; Tony Thomas, Northmont City Schools Superintendent; Jason Inkrott, Principal of Northmont High School. EMILY KRONENBERGER/STAFF PHOTO

Northmont High School among new Purple Star Schools

Northmont High School received state recognition Friday for serving military families, becoming the latest locally to be designated a Purple Star School by the Ohio Department of Education.

Other schools that made the state’s newest list of Purple Star Schools include Bellbrook High School, Dixie Elementary School, Dixie Middle School, Dixie High School and Mad River schools.

“A lot of people don’t understand the degree to which there is a military presence in Ohio,” DeMaria said. “Ohio takes great pride in its military families, and we value and appreciate the sacrifices and commitment they make.”

The state board designed the recognition to honor schools friendly to military families, according to DeMaria.

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“We want to be known as a welcoming community,” said Tony Thomas, superintendent of Northmont City School District.

To win the Purple Stare Award, schools must submit an application and are required to have a staff member be point of contact for military students and families, serving as the liaison between the school and family, the department of education website said.

The staff member completes professional development on special considerations for military students and families under federal law. They also inform teachers of any military students in their classrooms.

The school is also required to keep a dedicated page on their website that features resources for military families and hold a military recognition event, a school board resolution of support or training for additional staff members. The designation is good for two years, and schools must re-apply to keep the Purple Star.

“The point is do you have resources available,” DeMaria said. “Do we have staff members who are particularly informed about the issues military families face, and how do we address these challenges?”

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Other previous Purple Star Schools locally include Fairborn, Huber Heights and Vandalia-Butler, each with multiple buildings recognized. Other previous districts honored include Northmont, Sugarcreek, Mad River, Beavercreek and Wayne Local schools, as well as the Dayton Regional STEM School.

Forty-one Ohio schools were designated Purple Star Schools in the latest round, according to a release. Purple Star awardees receive a Purple Star to display.

At Northmont Friday, groups in attendance represented American Legion posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, mayors from Englewood and Clayton and the Northmont Board of Education.

“One of our strategic plan initiatives is to be engaging, and we certainly want to make sure our military families are part of that and we are always reaching out,” Thomas said.

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“It is an honor to recognize schools and districts with the Purple Star designation in celebration of their efforts to support military families, whether it is through various programs or resources,” DeMaria said. “We value and honor the many individuals who sacrifice everything for our safety and freedom, while calling Ohio home.”

Ohio has about 34,000 children with one or more parents that serve in the military, which include active duty, reserve and Ohio National Guard members.

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