Purple Star Bulletin

Ohio Association of Purple Star Schools, Winter 2020

Welcome to PSB Winter 2020!

Purple Star Bulletin

A warm welcome to the 94 Ohio schools that recently earned the Purple Star! This is the second edition of the Purple Star Bulletin (PSB), created for Purple Star Schools and all supporters of military-connected students.The Purple Star movement began here in Ohio in 2017 with 8 schools. Purple Star Schools are almost 300 strong, growing, and we need your help to keep the momentum going! The purpose of the PSB is to connect you to useful resources, to keep you informed of news and issues pertaining to military-connected students, and to share best practices to help you more efficiently take care of your military-connected kids.

94 New Purple Star Schools as of January 15!

We are now close to 300 schools in Ohio that have earned the Purple Star Award! This includes the first preschool, Studebaker Preschool in the Huber Heights district near Dayton. We are also pleased to recognize our first school from the Ohio 8 urban schools, Bowsher High School from Toledo Public Schools. We welcome all 94 schools that have made the commitment to support military-connected students and their families!

Meet the Editor of the PSB

My name is Dr. Michelle Lewis and I am privileged to serve as the editor of the PSB! I am the Point of Contact (POC) at Hyatts Middle School, a one of 14 Purple Star Schools the Olentangy Local School District in Delaware county, little north of Columbus. I am an Air Force mom, a French and Spanish teacher, a USO of Central and Southern Ohio volunteer, a marathon coach, and an enthusiastic member of the Purple Star family!

Upcoming Events, Dates, and Deadlines

  • Purple Star School applications - Round 7 - opens on March 1 and closes on May 1. Encourage your colleagues to apply!
  • Purple Star Awards are valid for three years, so renewals for the first Purple Star Schools in 2017 will begin in 2020 - more information on renewal from ODE in the Spring newsletter.
  • State Signing Day (Armed Forces Career Commitment Ceremony) will be taking place on March 11 2020. Students who have committed to the military and participate in this event will receive red, white and blue graduation cords courtesy of the USO of Central and Southern Ohio. Last year close to 900 people including the students (326), military, parents, and guests attended this amazing event at COSI in downtown Columbus.
  • April is Month of the Military Child and Friday, April 17 is State of Ohio Purple Up Day! It is a day to recognize the resilience of military-connected students. There is a link below with more information from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA).
  • Teacher Appreciation Reception at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) on Thursday, May 7, 5:00-7:00. It is free and open to all educators, school staff and administrators. For additional information, please contact Stacey Queen, Public Programs Manager at squeen@nationalvmm.org.
  • Friday, April 17, Purple-Up Day for the State of Ohio, is also the date for the Spring Meeting of the Thomas D. Rutan MIC3 State Council at 3:30 near Wright-Patterson AFB, at 229 Chapel Lane, Riverside, OH 45431.
  • Save the Date: the National Purple Star Summit will be taking place in Columbus on June 15. This is an opportunity for all educators involved in Purple Star Schools or those who wish to become Purple Star Schools to further their knowledge to support Ohio's military-connected students and their families!

Purple Star POC Change?

Has your POC changed at your school? Please share this information with the PSB editor, Dr. Michelle Lewis via email (michelle_lewis@olsd.us) once you have "passed the baton".

  1. Name
  2. District
  3. School
  4. Staff/Building position/assignment
  5. Email address
  6. Phone number

Purple Star Media Presence

The Ohio Association of Purple Star Schools is on Facebook! Follow the Purple Star Schools Facebook Page and send us your photos and videos so we can share them with the Purple Star community. Not only are we on Facebook, but we are introducing our web page that has many resources for military-connected students and families. Click on the button below to be see the Ohio Purple Star Schools website.

Your Newsletter

This is the second edition of the PSB and our goal is to create a communication vehicle for Purple Star schools in Ohio. We hope to share the news about Purple Star Schools and educate you about issues important to military-connected students and their families. In closing this introduction I remind you that the PSB has been created for you and we welcome your input! It is my belief that a good teacher is like a pirate, we take from others and make it our own - no need to reinvent the wheel! We hope to share your ideas through this newsletter but please don't stop there. Follow us on Facebook, like the Purple Star Schools Facebook page and share your joy, creativity, and triumphs with your Purple Star Family!


Purple Star Schools

See some of the newest Purple Star Schools and see what is going on in other Purple Star Schools around the state. Share your stories with us!

Professional Development

Learn about the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3), the Compact itself, the Ohio Compact language, Military Student Identifier (MSI), and read a case study that shows practical application of the Compact, and enroll in a class through Ashland University geared towards Purple Star POCs.

Meet the Purple Star Family

You will meet MIC3 members Ashley Twedt (POC Bellville ES in Clear Fork Valley Schools near Mansfield) and Janet Wynn (School Liaison at WPAFB). Ashley shares her story of identifying military-connected students to form her Military Lunch Bunch and Janet shares her role as the School Liaison for both WPAFB and the state of Ohio.

Purple Star Gear

There is a link at the end of this newsletter where you can find many Purple Star items to share your Purple Star pride!

Resources, Acronyms, References

There are useful resources to Purple Star POCs such as RISFAC, and Troops to Teachers. There are links to the NVMM. What is the NVMM or a RISFAC or a POC? Check out the Useful Acronyms list that grows with each issue as we combine educational and military acronyms.

Ohio Department of Education: Purple Star Schools

Click here to be connected to the ODE Purple Star page which has the Purple Star Schools application.

Ohio Purple Star Schools

Click here to be connected to resources for your military-connected students and their families on the Ohio Purple Star Schools web page.

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DODEA Month of the Military Child

Click here to find out more about April, the month of the Military Child.

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3rd Annual State Signing Day!

Honor, tradition and service are the hallmarks the members of the United States military live by each day, and Ohioans have made countless storied contributions to our nation’s history. Ohio continues this legacy at the Armed Forces Career Commitment Ceremony on March 11, 2020.

Seating is limited, so each student may bring only two guests, which can include family members, school staff, recruiters or friends. Students and guests should register quickly before the event reaches capacity. Registration will close Monday, March 2 or earlier if seating is full.

State Signing Day Invitation

Click here to see the invitation and information about the ceremony.

State Signing Day Registration

Click here to register to attend the ceremony!

HIlliard Davidson Earns the Purple Star!

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On hand to celebrate the Purple Star: Stephanie Kunze (Ohio Senate, 16th District), Corey O'Brien (MIC3, Purple Star POC at Hamilton Township High School), Commissioner Pete LuPiba from the MIC3, Aaron Cookson (Hilliard Davidson Principal), Lori Mongolier (Purple Star POC at Hilliard Davidson), Deborah Ashenhurst (Director of Veterans Services), and students who have committed to the Armed Services from Hilliard Davidson High School on Military Appreciation Night on January 24, 2020.

Bowsher HS, Toledo Public Schools

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Commissioner Pete LuPiba presents the Purple Star to Superintendent Romules Durant from Toledo Public Schools, the first of the Ohio 8 Urban Schools to earn the honor.

Living History Day at Hyatts MS

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The Hyatts Middle School Military Wall of Honor, Olentangy Local School District

The Hyatts Middle School Military Wall of Honor began in 2015 when Nancy Braun Poliseno brought her creation, Living History Day/ Veterans Recognition Day, with her from Orange Middle School to Hyatts. Living History Day is a 20 year tradition that this year included more than 100 active duty/veterans who were our guests and shared their stories with students.

The wall was updated in 2019: the Hyatts Military Kids helped to paint the wall and the Hyatts PTO purchased the service plaques. The honor/memorial bricks are a tradition started to honor the service of military members connected to the school community.

Gold Bricks honor the memory of American heroes, military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their life for this country.

Red Bricks honor the memory of men and women who served in the United States Military, and although they are no longer with us, we will never forget their service.

Blue Bricks honor veterans who have served this country and the men and women who are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.

How does your school celebrate Veterans Day? What does your school do to honor the military? We welcome the opportunity to share your story!

Liberty MS Armed Services Display

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Purple Star POC Jason Durell (Olentangy Liberty Middle School) shares the story of the Liberty Middle School Armed Services display. Jason worked with local community members LTC Marshall Jackson, T & L Graphics and Dr. Cliff Moore to establish this display. The Armed Services display pays tribute to all of the brave men and women of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense. Liberty MS is very proud that students, parents, teachers and administrators can view this every day! It is a visible reminder that our veterans and active duty personnel should be in our thoughts daily. He credits principals Nichole Crothers and Charlie Moushey, as well as the entire staff at Liberty for fully supporting this endeavor.

How are you honoring the military connections in your community? Please share your story!

Professional Development: ESSA and the MSI

Finding Military-Connected Students

Most Purple Star Schools are not located near a base so our military-connected students are not as obvious, they are hidden among the general population. The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) requires that all states collect and report assessment data on military-connected students. Implementation of ESSA began in the 2017-18 school year. Ohio schools have been phasing in the use of the Military Student Identifier (MSI) as the instrument used to identify military-connected students. This is the second year of implementation of the MSI in most schools in Ohio.

Trying to Identify Military-Connected Students?

Someone in your district has information about military-connected students who have been officially identified. At my school, no one had the information directly, but it was easily obtained. I talked with a school counselor who emailed our district statistician who had the information to me in a few minutes. This information is a starting point but IT WILL NOT IDENTIFY ALL MILITARY-CONNECTED STUDENTS! Why? Well, first and foremost it is information that is voluntary from parents. Also, it does not identify students who have siblings who are serving, it is only about parents.

What Has Worked for You in Identifying Military-Connected Students?

In the first PSB I shared the story of my school, Hyatts Middle in the Olentangy Local School District. In this edition, Ashley Twedt, POC at Bellville Elementary in the Clear Fork Valley School District near Mansfield will share her story. Future editions will include more stories from the Purple Star family - which includes you!

Please share your stories and ideas - we welcome your input!

Professional Development: Identifying Military-Connected Students

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Ashley Twedt, Purple Star POC, Bellville Elementary School

Ashley Twedt, pictured above, far right in gray with her Military Lunch Bunch after being honored for their participation in the local 4th of July parade Intervention Specialist and Purple Star Point of Contact at Bellville Elementary School in the Clear Fork Valley Local School District near Mansfield shares her story!

It Began in Fall 2016

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, I was given the privilege of planning the Veteran’s Day Celebration for my school. This was such an honor to me as a sister of an Army Reservist. I decided I wanted to gather information on our school in regards to our military families. I sent home a questionnaire asking for information back about the current military members and the veterans in their families. That was the first time my eyes were opened to the amount of military-connected students we had in our rural school. This first identification process was the beginning of my dealings with our Bellville Elementary Military-Connected Youth.

Purple Star Begins!

In the fall of 2017 the Purple Star was developed and the news spread. This prestigious award was brought to my attention shortly after the first Purple Star Schools were recognized. At that time I was meeting monthly with a group of students whose fathers were deployed in Jordan along with a few other students whose fathers were preparing for a deployment. During our monthly meetings we would eat lunch together and talk about the different things the students were going through. It was also during this time that I was organizing my second Veterans Day Celebration, this time it was in the form of a breakfast. Shortly after Veterans Day, I started working on my Purple Star Application. I focused on how to better serve the students and families in my building who were military-connected. At that time, we had about 20 military-connected youth in our PK-5 building of 400 students.

Military Lunch Bunch Begins

In the spring of 2018 our Military Lunch Bunch took its name! The last Thursday of each month became a special day for 20 elementary students and myself. We ate a great meal, usually consisting of breakfast food, pizza or tacos, and then worked on some type of project. In most cases the projects were letters to deployed parents, packing boxes to send overseas, reading stories about being military-connected or just meeting with buddies to talk about our lives. Each student was paired with a buddy who they could share stories with and someone to check in with during trying times. These buddies helped some of our youngest members through some very difficult times. In February of 2018, the second round of Purple Star awards, Bellville Elementary was recognized as showing a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military.

So Far This Year...

Each year I send out our questionnaire in the “beginning of the year” paperwork. This year we identified three new students using this process and many new veterans that we are able to thank throughout the year. My school, Bellville Elementary School in Clear Fork Valley Local School District, currently has 25 military-connected youth in our K-5 building of 430 students.

Who are Bellville Elementary’s Military kids?

Bellville Elementary’s Military Kids are military-connected through immediate family: parent/guardian or sibling. These students have parents/guardians or siblings who are active duty or are serving in the Guard/Reserve. With our close proximity to the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio, most of our families are Air Force and serve in the Air National Guard.

What has worked for you in identifying the military-connected students at your school? We welcome your input!

professional development: click below to access the MIC3 website

Ohio Compact

Click here to access the Ohio Compact Language.


What is the Compact?

The Military Interstate Children's Compact is an agreement or compact among the 50 states and the District of Columbia that attempts to level the playing field for military dependents of active-duty service members. The Commission (MIC3) is the group that meets to discuss the needs of military-connected students and their families. The Ohio MIC3 Rutan State Council is lead by Navy veteran Commissioner Pete LuPiba.

Why the Compact?

The purpose of the Compact can be summed up in one word - TRANSITION. The purpose of the compact is to ease the transition of military-connected students.

Who is covered by the Compact?

Children of active duty members of the uniformed services, National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders, commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Unites States Public Health Service (USPHS), and members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year are eligible for assistance under the Compact. The Compact also covers students of members who perish on active duty for a period of one year following their death.

The Compact attempts to reduce education challenges such as, eligibility, placement and graduation for transitioning military families. On average, military students will attend six to nine different school systems during their K-12 years.

The Commission - Ohio Creates Purple Star Schools!

The Ohio MIC3 is a very active group that sought to take the Compact one step further by creating the Purple Star School designation in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The idea was not just to solve problems through the Compact but perhaps avoid problems and provide support for military-connected students and their families.The Ohio MIC3 The Purple Star Point of Contact (POC) is the critical link in a school to provide information to military-connected families.

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MIC3 Meeting December 9, 2019

This picture features participants in the December MIC3 meeting. They are part of the Purple Star family that you will be learning about in upcoming issues of the PSB. In the first PSB (AU'19), Tom Rutan, the first Commissioner was featured. In this Winter Issue, Janet Wynn, School Liaison at WPAFB (not pictured above), is our featured MIC3 member.

Front Row Left to Right: Ken Baker (Ohio Association of Secondary Administrators Exec Dir), Chris Picha (Ohio Department of Veterans Services), Corey O'Brien (Hamilton Township High School, First Purple Star School in Nation), Jason Durell (Olentangy Liberty Middle School Counselor, U.S. Army Reserves, U.S. Marines Veteran), Chip Merkle (Education Programs Ohio National Guard), Ashley Twedt (Bellville Elementary School Intervention Specialist, Clear Fork Valley Schools).

Back Row Left to Right: State Council Chair Pete LuPiba (MIC3 Commissioner 2012-Present, Former U.S. Navy), Thomas D. “Tom” Rutan (MIC3 Commissioner 2009-2012), Roxanne Price (Ohio High School Athletic Association Legal Counsel, Founding State Council Member), LT Van Huynh (U.S. Navy Ohio), Jackie Spector (USO of Central and Southern Ohio), Tammy Puff (Office of the Governor), Major Crystalyn Fillmore (U.S. Army Command Columbus), Colonel Bill Holl (U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Defense Representative), Adreana Tartt (Ohio Department of Health).

Meet MIC3 Member Janet Wynn!

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Janet Wynn, School Liaison, WPAFB


Picture left to right: Stacey Westendorf (Principal, Magsig Middle School in Centerville), Janet Wynn (School Liaison at Wright-Patterson AFB) and Pete LuPiba (MIC3 Commissioner 2012-present, U.S. Navy veteran)

The Rutan State Council

Janet Wynn, the School Liaison at WPAFB is a member of the Ohio MIC3, renamed the MIC3 Rutan State Council in October of 2018 at the Annual Business Meeting of the National MIC3 in Cleveland. The members of the council are not fulfilling an obligation, they are following their passion, taking care of military-connected students so that our military can serve with less worry. You will see MIC3 members like Janet and Commissioner LuPiba all over the state honoring Purple Star Schools and promoting the MIC3 in order to better the lives of military-connected students and their families. Janet's position as Student Liaison is critical, and it is important that all Purple Star POCs are aware of her role which encompasses the entire state!

Who is Janet Wynn?

Janet has always enjoyed working with children from her college days when she worked in a daycare, to earning her degree in early childhood elementary education from West Texas A & M. She started her educational support career in the Air Force as a training and curriculum specialist with child and youth services. Her first School Liaison role was at Laughlin AFB and through her positions at different bases she has noted that the workload is different at each base depending upon the size of the installation (base) and its location.


When military parents know there is an impending PCS (permanent change of station), they begin school shopping to find the school that will best meet the needs of their student. In Janet's role as School Liaison at WPAFB, she is knowledgeable about the 29 schools that surround WPAFB in Montgomery, Greene, Miami, and Clark counties. She is able to make recommendations to families based upon her experiences with the educators in these districts.

Janet's State Role

Janet is the only Student Liaison in Ohio and Wright-Patterson is our largest base in this state and is the 5th largest employer in Ohio. This large military population is the reason for her position. However, her role is also one of professional development, deployment support, and resources for educators. If you have a question, please don't hesitate to contact Janet. She has years of experiences with multiple bases, if she doesn't know the answer, she will help you find it, or if necessary, refer you to Commissioner LuPiba. You can reach Janet at the following email:


Case Studies

Janet will be sharing case studies with us so that we can learn about concerns that military-connected students face. These case studies are the practical application of the MIC3.

Professional development: MIC3 Case Studies with Janet Wynn

Janet Wynn, School Liaison at WPAFB will be sharing case studies from the MIC3 to help us understand the practical application of the Compact.

Scenario: A service member and their family move from Arkansas to Missouri. The student completed their sophomore year in Arkansas before moving to a school district in Missouri for their junior year. The student took ½ year of civic government in Arkansas but Missouri requires 1 full year of social studies. The parents requested that the school count economics as social studies. In addition, the Constitutional Test (social studies content knowledge) is required at Missouri schools in order to graduate. The parents request the additional social studies class and Constitutional Test be waived.

Discussion: there are two issues to be examined: 1) Does the student have to take a social studies class to meet the Missouri state requirement or can that be waived? and 2) Does the student have to take the Constitutional Test or can that be waived?

Janet's Summary of the Issues and the Resolution:

First, does the student have to take a social studies class to meet the Missouri state requirement or can that be waived?

a. Per MIC3 Chapter 400 –GRADUATION –

LEA administrative officials shall waive specific courses required for graduation if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another LEA or shall provide reasonable justification for denial. Should the LEA deny a waiver, reasonable justification shall be made.

Second, does the student have to take the Constitutional Test or can that be waived?

a. Unless the family can show an exit or end of course exam was completed from the sending state, a national norm-referenced achievement tests or alternative testing, in lieu of testing requirements for graduation in the receiving State, the required Missouri exam will need to be taken.

Here are the Compact Rules that apply (a PDF of the Compact is listed below this article)

Chapter 400 - GRADUATION

(a)Waiver requirements – LEA administrative officials shall waive specific courses required for graduation if similar course work has been satisfactorily completed in another LEA or shall provide reasonable justification for denial. Should a waiver not be granted to a student who would qualify to graduate from the sending school, the LEA shall provide an alternative means of acquiring required coursework so that graduation may occur on time. If the receiving LEA requires a graduation project, volunteer community service hours, or other State or LEA specific requirements, the receiving LEA may waive those requirements.

(b) Exit exams – States shall accept: 1) exit or end-of-course exams required for graduation from the sending State; or 2) national norm-referenced achievement tests or 3) alternative testing, in lieu of testing requirements for graduation in the receiving State. In the event the above alternatives cannot be accommodated by the receiving State for a student transferring in his or her senior year, then the provisions of Article VII, Section C shall apply.

Professional Development: Ashland University

Dr. Cheryl "Dee" Basinger, the Director of Professional Development Services at Ashland University has developed a course for POCs, Military-Connected Youth: Building Resiliency for Education and Life. This course is designed to help you earn a semester hour of credit while you help the military-connected students at your school. You will be documenting time that you spend attending conferences, meetings, and/or time spent implementing programs or events in your school. Dr. Basinger can be reached at cbasinger@ashland.edu and the information about the course and enrollment information is included below.

In addition, Dr. Basinger worked with the Purple Star team to create the Ohio Purple Star Schools web page: it has resources that you and your military-connected students and families might need will be located in one easy website. The Ohio Purple Star Schools button below will connect you to these resources.


Regional Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee (RISFAC)

The RISFAC is a group of community partners that meet in order to share resources and find ways to better address the needs of active duty service members and their families as well as veterans. It is a great way to network in order to find out about services and opportunities for your military-connected students and their families.

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National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Here is information useful to educators.

Professional Development: Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers

Click here for information about this program to help veterans become K-12 teachers.

Show your purple star!

Purple Star Gear

Click here to shop for Purple Star gear and show your Purple Star Pride to the community!

Useful Acronyms

AFJROTC: Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

DODEA: Department of Defense Education Activity

ESSA: Every Student Succeeds Act

LEA: Local Education Agency

MIC3: Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission

MSI: Military Student Identifier

NVMM: National Veterans Memorial and Museum located in downtown Columbus, OH

NJROTC: Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

ODE: Ohio Department of Education

OHSAA: Ohio High School Athletic Association

PCS: Permanent Change of Station

POC: Point of Contact, military family liaison

PSB: Purple Star Bulletin

RISFAC: Regional Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee

USO: United Service Organizations


Klein, A. (2016, March 31). The Every Student Succeeds Act: An ESSA Overview. Education Week. Retrieved Month Day, Year from http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/every-student-succeeds-act/

Miltary Interstate Childrent's Compact Commissionhttp://www.mic3.net/background.html

Mesecar, D. and Soifer, D. (September 2018). The Lexington Institute.Getting School Districts Ready for the Military Student Identifier. Retrieved August 5, 2019 from https://forstudentsuccess.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/MSI-Lex-Report_final.pdf

Adams, J. (2016, June 1). Schools Will Begin to Track Students from Miitary Families. EdSource. Retrieved August 5, 2019 from https://edsource.org/2016/are-students-from-military-families-succeeding-schools-will-begin-to-track/565042