Mrs. Brooke Martin, Hillsdale's Military Family Liaison, proudly displays the certificates the schools received from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. Mrs. Martin's leadership and efforts were instrumental in achieving the designation.

JEROMESVILLE, Ohio (4/23/24)--Hillsdale Local Schools is delighted to announce that both their PK-6 and 7-12 schools have been recognized with the Purple Star designation for 2024, as declared by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Education and Workforce Director Stephen D. Dackin.

Among 171 Ohio schools honored as members of the Purple Star Class of 2024, 97 of which are first-time designees and 74 renewals, Hillsdale Local Schools stands out for its commitment to serving students and families connected to the United States’ armed forces.

Hillsdale Local Schools' Military Family Liaison, Mrs. Brooke Martin, spouse of an active-duty US Air Force airman, has been instrumental in supporting the 21 military students and their families within the district.

"The Purple Star designation is a significant honor that reflects our district’s commitment to our military-connected students and families," said Dr. Cathy Trevathan, Superintendent. "We are immensely proud to receive this recognition, highlighting our ongoing dedication to providing support and resources to those who serve our country."

Acknowledging this dedication, Steve Dackin, director of the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, stated, "The Purple Star school designation recognizes these schools’ commitments to serving students and families connected to the United States armed forces. 'Future Forward Ohio,' the state’s strategic priorities for education, recognizes the importance of overcoming obstacles to learning,” he said in a recognition letter to the district.

Over 15,000 Ohio students have one or more parents serving in the military. Some of these students will attend six to nine different schools between kindergarten and grade 12, according to the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce website. Military-connected students can also be challenged by a parent’s deployment. Schools play a vital role in supporting these students and families by connecting them with the necessary resources and assistance they need.

“To be successful in school and when transitioning between school settings, Ohio’s military-connected youth require supports to ensure their unique wellness and academic needs are met. The Purple Star award signifies your school’s demonstrated commitment to serving these students and families," Dackin said.

Hillsdale Local Schools celebrated their military-connected students during April, the Month of the Military Child. The district participated in a nationwide spirit week and hosted weekly military kids gatherings. During these gatherings, students had the opportunity to meet each other and received a special treat each week, generously provided by local organizations. 

The district thanks the generosity of local organizations for their contributions to these special gatherings. Cupcakes, made by one of the military students, Lacey Power, and candy were sponsored by Appleseed Community Mental Health Center. Cookies, prepared by Hillsdale alum Taylor Stimpert, were donated by the Jeromesville American Legion. Also, Brew'd Donuts were sponsored by the Hayesville AMVETS. Additionally, the district provided lanyards and bookmarks featuring a dandelion, representing the resiliency, adaptability, and strength of military children, created by Mrs. Martin. Mrs. Jody Raubenolt, Food Service Supervisor, facilitated having milk and supplies available for the students.

More activities and supports are currently in the planning stages, including special activities for November, the Month of the Military Family.

Awarded to schools on a three-year basis, the Purple Star designation recognizes those that complete two required activities plus another optional one as outlined by the state. One requirement is choosing a school-based staff member to serve as a liaison between military families and the school. These liaisons then undergo training, identify military-connected students, and facilitate supports for them throughout the school community.

Home to 600 active Purple Star schools, Governor DeWine commended Ohio’s leadership in supporting military families in a press release, stating, "Ohio is a leader in its support to military families, and the Purple Star program is a wonderful example of how this support extends to children in our schools. I applaud Ohio’s Purple Star schools and thank them for supporting military-connected students and ensuring they have the services and learning resources to succeed."

The complete list of statewide awardees and active Purple Star schools is available on the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce’s Purple Star School webpage. Purple Star awardees, including Hillsdale Local Schools, receive a special Purple Star recognition to display in their buildings. A Purple Star school receives the designation for three years, after which the school can apply for renewal.

The announcement of the Purple Star Class of 2024 coincides with Ohio’s participation in the national celebration of the Month of the Military Child. April was designated as the Month of the Military Child by the United States Department of Defense in 1986 to increase public knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding children who have a parent in the military.

For more information about Hillsdale Local Schools and its Purple Star designation, please contact Mrs. Martin, Hillsdale’s Military Family Liaison, at brmartin@hillsdalelocalschools.org.

For additional information and resources available for our military families, please visit our Military Family Support webpage.