New statewide program recognizes school districts for commitment to military families

New statewide program recognizes school districts for commitment to military families

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Tamika Sherman and her family understand the difficulties of military life.

“Nine times out of ten, you’re away from your family and support system,” Sherman said.

Sherman’s husband is stationed at Fort Jackson. The Sherman’s moved to South Carolina from Georgia. “The first thing I did was look up the area, where we were going to live and what schools were here,” Sherman said.

Her children go to Richland School District 2 schools. Today, the school district was designated as a “Purple Star” school district.

Meaning they are making a significant commitment to supporting military families and students. The new designation was unveiled Monday by State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. She said, “We hope this will spread in those districts with military installations but we have National Guard, Army Reserve personnel all across South Carolina so it’s important for schools everywhere to seek this designation."

These “Purple Star” schools have a dedicated liaison for military families, a student ambassador programs, a military family school website, adhere to the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3), are focused on helping military kids join extracurricular activities, and offer specialized training to staff.

According to data from the Department of Defense, there are more than 50,000 service members (Active duty and National Guard/Reserves) in the Palmetto State. Many of them have children attending public schools here.

Denzor Richberg is retired from the military. He said a “Purple Star” designation brings military families some comfort. “It brings us a sense of comfort and peace knowing our families are cared for in the community.”

So far two school districts have been named “Purple Star” school districts, Richland 2 and Aiken County Public Schools. Sherman said, “Having a district and community to stand behind you and give you the support you need provides a huge relief.”

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