Medical Lake and Cheney School Districts win Purple Star Awards

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Clare Werner
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing

Medical Lake and Cheney School Districts received a Purple Star School designation, April 5, 2024.

The Washington State Legislature approved the Purple Star program last year, recognizing school districts that demonstrated a commitment to support the needs of students in military families.

“It’s an award that originally was designed through the Military Child Education Coalition to identify and recognize schools and districts that intentionally support military-connected children,” said Dr. Kim Headrick, MLSD superintendent.

According to Headrick, MLSD partnered with the Fairchild Educational Excellence Team to ensure they can meet military families’ needs. The school district hired Rey Ornelas to serve as a military family advocate for the school district’s students and families.

“With Rey’s partnership and working with FEET, we created a professional development training series that we provide to all of our staff, which talks about the unique challenges of military connected students and their families” Headrick explained. “We also have a website dedicated to our military families.”

Headrick added that MLSD trains with the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission to learn how to further support military families required to move and change schools.

“We ensure that high school students are able to maintain their credits and participate fully in activities, no matter when they come to us,” she said.

The CSD has also implemented ways to support military families while moving and living in a new area. For example, they offer summer enrollment processes and holding Veteran’s Day and other military-themed assemblies for students.

“The Purple Star Award is great because it’s like a beacon to show military families, as they’re moving into our area, that we’re a school district that supports military families,” said Dr. Ben Ferney, CSD superintendent.

According to Ferney, CSD trained its leadership council through the MIC3 to help cater to the district’s 380 military-affiliated students.

“We want to welcome military families, and we appreciate the service they provide for our country,” Ferney said. “Hopefully, the Purple Star is just another way to show that we’re aware and want to support families.”