Geary County Schools USD 475 is proud to be the first district in the state of Kansas to implement a pilot of the Military Child Education Coalition’s (MCEC) Purple Star School Program within its schools.
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.
Geary County Schools initiated the program within the district in the fall of 2020 and since has grown the program to each of its schools.
Each school has a designated Point of Contact for military students and families. The POC serves as the primary link between the family and the school. The individual can be a counselor, administrator, teacher, or another staff member. Our point of contact at Westwood is Kristi Franks.
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. See Geary County Schools’ page here.
- 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 was 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 the Junction City High School’s home Military Appreciation 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.
- The Junction City High School has a U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program in place.
Geary County Schools will continue to report their results from this program to Kansas state leaders, who will then decide whether to implement this program through state legislation.
To learn more about the resources Westwood and Geary County has to offer to military families, please click here.