Oakwood Schools is making a difference in the lives of military families. For their efforts, the Ohio Department of Education recently designated Harman School and Smith Elementary as Purple Star Schools. The Purple Star award signifies the schools' commitment to military families and their students.
“I was delighted to know the hard work and effort of our club and staff is being recognized, and will help military families moving to the area know their children will be safe, supported, respected and celebrated. I'm hoping this will help give them one less thing to worry about when moving to a new place so they can focus their time, energy and effort on other things,” Harman School Counselor Michael Wadham said.
Harman Principal Sarah Patterson and Smith Principal Chrissy Elliott say they are honored to receive these awards.
“We value and appreciate the strength, contributions, perspective and richness our military families bring to our schools and our community and want to ensure we are providing them meaningful support and partnership,” Patterson said.
As a way to help military families in the district, Wadham and Smith School Counselor Amber Perrott designed web pages to organize resources and necessary information.
“It is important for military families to know what is offered and how it can impact their students to make the transition easier. There are many resources and supports put in place to reduce the stress of relocating. Our website helps in making access to this information quick and easy,” Perrott said.
“Finding services that do not stigmatize or meet the needs of each family member can be difficult at times. I believe it is so important to help take care of the family as a whole. Family wellness is a protective factor that can lead to positive relational and mental health outcomes for all members of the family,” Wadham said.
To build connections with students who have family members in the military, both schools conduct Military Kids' Club. Students have an opportunity to come together on a regular basis, share experiences and create new memories.
“A big challenge for the students is making friends. It is hard to move and start over leaving old relationships and having to forge new ones. In the Military Kids’ Club our group helps new kids know they are not alone and may help in planting the seed of a new friendship,” Perrott said.