Each campus of Madison City Schools has earned the distinction of Purple Star School for the consideration of military families. CONTRIBUTED

Madison proclaimed Purple Star School District

MADISON – The legacy of connections to the U.S. Military has led Madison City Schools to reach the ranks of a new, state-sponsored program.

MCS recently achieved the distinction as a “Purple Star School District” that underscores the commitment to support military students and families. In addition, all individual schools in Madison qualified for this honor.

A legislative act created the Alabama Purple Star Schools Program to help ease the social and sometimes academic burden of frequent moves.

A district and its campuses can qualify as a Purple Star District only after satisfying a set of criteria:

* Flow of communication – Identifying a person at each school as point of contact for military students and families.

* Online identity — Maintaining a dedicated page for Purple Star on the school’s website and feature resources for military families.

* Help from peers – Establishing a student-led program for peer support of newly enrolled and transitioning students. Peer support will entail other actions for inclusion.

* Signage – Posting a Purple Star emblem on site for each qualifying school.

“I am proud to report that every single school in our district attained Purple Star status,” MCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said. “This classification affirms on paper what we have tried to do all along for our military families: Make their transition and school experience as smooth as possible, so service to our country is less of a burden on the home front.”

A hallmark for each Purple Star school, a student peer group for each school will welcome and orient new students to schools. A faculty-advisor will guide the peer group.

MCS’ version of these student groups is the Student-to-Student or S2S Peer Group. These chapters raise awareness of the needs of all transitioning students, both military-connected and civilian. To accomplish this goal, S2S groups host socials, exercise special efforts to join newcomers at lunch and at school functions, orient newcomers to the community and offer other forms of outreach.

S2S groups undergo training with faculty sponsors and representatives of MCEC or Military Child Education Coalition for guidance in welcoming and supporting newcomers.

MCEC has designated purple as the official color of its focus on the military child. Purple results when combining blue for Air Force; green for Army; blue, Navy; red, Marines; and blue, Coast Guard.

For more information, visit alabamaachieves.org/alabamas-purple-star-school-program.

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