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April 3, 2023

64: Purple Star Schools, why you should look for one for your military kid during your next PCS

64: Purple Star Schools, why you should look for one for your military kid during your next PCS
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Have you heard of Purple Star Schools? No? Me either! Thats what we are going to talk about today!

Purple Star Schools are schools that have earned that title by having school personnel and programs specific to military kids and their families.

There are Purple Star Schools all over the nation, and definitely worth looking into during your next PCS.

I share with you how schools earn the accreditation of being a Purple Star School, what is the MCEC or Military Child Education Coalition and what programs do they have to support our military kids.

Lots of links for todays show!

Military Child Coalition:https://www.militarychild.org

Shaye Molendyke episode on supporting the emotional needs of our kids
Click HERE to listen

The Whole Brain Child episode link HERE

Listen to the MCEC Podcast episode I talked about HERE

Student 2 Student

Bloom Military Teen:https://www.bloommilitaryteens.org/about

The Military Interstate Compact 

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[00:00:00] Hello. Hello. Welcome to today's show. All right, so this episode is being put out in April, and April is the month of the military child. So I'm going to do my best to have all of our episodes this month around military kids. And it's interesting because as I was doing research for today's episode, I came across.

[00:00:26] Organization called ssec, which is the Military Child Education Coalition. We'll get into them a little bit more here in a little bit, but they, actually have a podcast and I was like, Hey, let's check that out. So I listened to a podcast episode, and the podcast episode I listened to had military kids on it because that's what I was doing research for.

[00:00:44] And, it was interesting. There was, there were two middle school girls and they were talking about, the challenges of being a military kid, and they both had experiences of living overseas, living in the. Going to, , on post schools and going to public schools and just the different, , experiences that they had.

[00:01:05] And they talked about, , they were asked directly, what do you think of April, you know, in the month of military child? And they were like, well, I think that's great. that you know, Hey, it's April, it's the month the military child let's, you know, schools are like, Hey, let's celebrate our military kids.

[00:01:21] Purple up. Yay. They're like, we're military kids. 11 months outta the year. I mean, we're, we're the other 11 months out of the year. It's not just April. Like we need resources and we need tools, and we need help all the time, not just in the month of April, which I. Was, , very well said. And, , something that we should think about.

[00:01:44] So, okay. Getting into the topic of today's show last season or last year, , in April the month of the military child, I really focused on, military kids and resiliency. We talked to Shay Malindi, who is, she's like, she's like the trauma yoga guru

[00:02:06] She, , she's in Air Force, she's retired now, , she was in the Air Force and, , she was one of my mentors as I went through my yoga training and, , just trauma inform. just trauma and how our body handles that is just, she's amazing. So anyways, if you haven't listened to that episode, I will link it in the show notes because you really should.

[00:02:26] She just, she offers a lot of really great insight on how we can help our kids. And then I, shared a book that I learned about in one of my trainings. That is, , the whole brainchild and, and it's just a really understanding the way that your kid's brain. Right. And when they're losing their minds, like there's a biological reason behind it.

[00:02:51] It's not just your kid being an a-hole, you know? So I think all of that information is really helpful. So those were really great episodes last year. , and so this year, again, month and military child, let's focus on that. , so I wanted to kind of dive into a couple of different things, and I don't know if you guys have heard of a Purple Star school.

[00:03:11] Have you heard of a Purple Star school? I hadn't heard of a Purple star school. It's a thing. , it's a thing. So this is kind of a big rabbit hole that I went down and I had to like cap myself off with. I mean there's like 500 browser windows open on my computer. And so I'm just gonna give you like the basic version of it.

[00:03:31] And that is this, is that, you know, there ha it has been recognized by legislature that. military kids have a hard time, right? It's one of the biggest challenges in a military family's career, life, what have you, is changing schools. It is really hard to change schools, and as your kids get older, my experience.

[00:03:58] As our kids are getting older, it is just getting harder. And one of the statistics for retention for military, that's a big one for military families as far as reasons that they're getting out, is the continuity for their kids in schooling and. , that's where we're at, a hundred percent honest. Our, our goal, let's be out by the time the girls start high school so that they can have some kind of consistency and we're not moving all over the place.

[00:04:25] And I know I've talked to other military spouses, I know other military families, they continue to move while they're kids graduate from the school and go off to college and they keep moving and all that other stuff. And, and that's, that's great for that family. It just, you know, everybody's different in what they want for their family, for our family.

[00:04:42] I want stability, , I want stability, and I want structure. So when we're moving, one of the first things that we're looking at is where we're gonna live, right? Is schools. That's huge. It's a huge part of what we consider when we look at where we're gonna leave, when we get PCs orders, we wanna know how far are we gonna be away from work?

[00:05:06] And schools like that is the number one thing. The Purple Star School designation is the brainchild of this. Pete La Pba, Lou Pba, I dunno how you say his name. , but he's the Ohio Commissioner for the military, children's Interstate Compact Commissioner m Mick three m i c three. I don't know. See, that's the lovely thing about military, , acronyms is you don't know.

[00:05:28] Do you say, , do you say that they're weps or do you say w e p s Because it's, it's weps when it's w p s, but then if it's the, the csa, you say csa, you don't say so. You it. You can never really tell. So I'm not, I haven't heard anybody say it, so I don't know how you say it. M i C three, military child Interstate Compact Commission.

[00:05:47] That is something else that is a little bit of a beast, and I'm not gonna get into it because, , quite frankly, I didn't a hundred percent understand what they were doing. But anyways, , this gentleman, he's retired, , retired from the Navy and he understands that, you know, military kids, we move a lot, right?

[00:06:05] And there, there has to be a better way for schools to be able to support military. As well in addition to following these compact guidelines. So there is a compact that is nationwide. It's called the Military Interstate Compact, and it has been adopted by all 50 states. , and it was from the Department of Defense and collaborated with the National Center for Interstate Compacts and the Council of State Governments, and they made this compact to address the educational transition issues of military kids and family because, I'm, I, I'm sure you've noticed if your kids have, so my girls are currently in there, what Savannah's in her thir.

[00:06:52] Third, fourth. She's in her fourth school now. She's in fifth grade. , actually if you wanna count preschool, , she went to two different preschools. Kindergarten at one school. Oh lord. She's been in a lot of schools. I'm sure you can relate any who I'm sure you have noticed as your kids, especially as they get older.

[00:07:12] We moved from Washington State and girls are great. They're right where they're supposed to be. Everything's fantastic. We moved to Colorado. Your girls are really behind . What? Oh my gosh. Because the curriculum is different. The state testing is different. There everything is different. And so there, there was a big learning curve for the girls the first year that they were here and that only gets harder the further you go through school.

[00:07:43] And you know, I feel like when you're in kind of that elementary school age, it's. You know, they're not really getting quite letter grade stuff. They're not getting diplomas and things like that, so it's, it's a little bit less intense. But once you start getting into the middle school and high school level where you're gonna be graduating with a diploma, everybody has specific requirements that you have to have if you come into that.

[00:08:07] At the 11th hour, right? As a military kid and you don't meet, this particular state's require you were great at the state you came from, but now at this state you're behind. You need to have X, Y, and Z. So they created this compact to make it so that the, the frequent moves and everything that the average military family, faces.

[00:08:32] This is supposed to help kind of level out the playing field and, , , make sure that military families get the same opportunities for, for success with their kids' education and that they're not penalized or delayed. because of inflexible administration and just bureaucratic stuff, right?

[00:08:52] So that's kind of the, the main idea behind this compact. So I think it's important we're not getting into it , , what it is in the ins and outs of it, not on this show. , but it, I think it's important to know that it exists, so that when you're going into a new school, into a new school district, a state, whatever, you have kind of a working knowledge.

[00:09:12] Okay. All right. So Purple Star Schools. Purple Star Schools. This program, it sounds really, really, really awesome. It is being adopted slow. By states, the problem is, is there are what? Hundreds and hundreds of elementaries and then hundreds and hundreds of middles and hundreds and hundreds of high schools.

[00:09:33] The Purple Star School program really is a grassroots, , initiative, and it is slowly taking steam. And I feel like this is something that as a parent, , if you feel like, Hey, I, you know, I really, I wanna get involved and I'm, I really wanna do something for my kids.

[00:09:53] This could be, something that you take up if you are moving to an area and, , they don't have a Purple Star school program where you are, or your school doesn't have it. Then maybe that's something that you can get behind so that we can find that support for our kids. So it, it doesn't seem like it's a very long, arduous process to be designated a Purple Star school.

[00:10:18] The start of it, as far as like, does your state even have a program that's a little bit more involved? , but it's not hard to do again. So if you go to the, I don't wanna say it's not hard to do, cuz I don't know, but if you go to the, and I'm gonna link it in the show notes, the Msec, the Military Child Education Coalition.

[00:10:36] They've got all of the, the information on there on how you would do that. I digress. Okay. So what is a Purple Star school? Why do I care? Why is it important? So to become, to be awarded the Purple Star design. , there's four kind of key principles, and then each school, like district and state and whatever can, you know, have different requirements and things.

[00:11:00] It's, it's kind of a very like loose space thing, but essentially the four main kind of pillars that they wanna have is they want there to be a designated school staff person as a point of contact or liaison for military students. And. one person, this is who you're gonna go talk to. This is your point of contact.

[00:11:19] Whoever they pick as that liaison there is re required professional development for them on military connected student issues Like that makes sense. Right. You should probably have a, a working knowledge of the problems that military kids are having in this and kind of popping back to.

[00:11:37] the podcast episode that I listened to with the two military school military aged mil mil. Oh, wow. The two middle school aged military kids. Hey, there we go. Say that five times fast. Was that they were the, one of the questions they were asked is like, what do you think? What do you guys need? What do, and they said, well, you could ask, like, that's like step number one.

[00:11:58] Like if, if you're going into a new place, like what? Your kids what they need. Right? I'm like, that's really smart. What kind of things are you having? What kind of things are you struggling with? What can, how can we support you? That's the whole thing. Right? And then, okay, so that was, so that was two. So they have to have a, a school staff designated point of contact.

[00:12:17] That point of contact has to have professional development related to military, military connected student issues. The school must have a designated page on its. That features, resources and information for military families, which I think is huge. So as I'm, you know, going through all this stuff, they have , a page of, uh, this is what it could look like.

[00:12:40] And so this is an elementary school that I believe is in Virginia. And it is everything, everything that I would wanna know as a parent with an incoming elementary military kid coming into a new school. We're coming from out of. , it's like all of the information that you would want, do you have, this is how you would, , enroll your kid in our school.

[00:13:02] This is the kind of paperwork that you would need if you don't have this, this is what, and it's all on one page, which I think would be just a godsend for most military families is we're like going to switch schools and you're like, oh, I gotta have blah, blah. It's a mess. Okay. And then the last one is that the school needs to have one supplemental activity, like a professional development day.

[00:13:24] Or, , the school board passing resolution in support of military kids or the school committing to host an event that demonstrates a military friendly culture. So those four things are what you would have to have to be designated a Purple Star school. That's not a lot, it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to have this.

[00:13:44] It's just the effort. It's just the I and see, the thing is, is that I feel. A lot of places are sympathetic. A lot of schools are sympathetic to military kids, but they really don't know what it's like for a military kid, what it's like for military families, the different stressors that we have. 

[00:14:06] So it's, again, it's, it doesn't seem like it's that hard to be designated as a Purple Star school. It is really just the recognition that military kids face, different and unique challenges than regular. every day. Kids . I don't know how you say that. Cause it's like, I mean, they're all still kids at the end of the day.

[00:14:25] Right. But like the, the mental stress that military kids go are under and face, I don't think we can fully appreciate unless you've gone through it, what that's like. And, and I think, you know, we've talked about this before, that there's a plus side to that, right? Is that you, your kids can be right, can be more resilient, can be more open to other.

[00:14:49] people and cultures and you know, there's a lot of that of, of that that is positive, but then it's also. It's also can be really, really challenging and the stress of, not only are you moving to a new school where you don't know anybody, and you know you might be coming into a situation like an elementary school that's K through five.

[00:15:13] You're coming in as a fourth grader. There's kids that have been there since kindergarten. They know all the staff, they know all the, and your kid doesn't have any of that stuff, right? So it's just having a, a. of, and just I, and I think it'd be really cool to be able to go into a school and have like a club or something that was military kids.

[00:15:33] So then you all know each other and you can support each other. And it's like, hey, you know, we're not the only ones that are here. There's more of us and it's gonna be okay. It's gonna be cool. Okay, so that is a purple star school. I could not find a, Website that was like, how do I find Purple Star?

[00:15:55] I, I wasn't led to like a, Hey, this is a search engine that will tell you. So what I did is I just googled like purple star schools, Virginia Purple Star Schools, Colorado, and you can kind of get to it that way. So I would just recommend Googling, , and trying to figure out, , again, where you, if you, if you have a school that will be near your military install.

[00:16:18] That has, , this program, so there's, there's a couple of states that were the initiators into this program, and so they are the big guys, right? Like Ohio has a large military population, Virginia, um, Arkansas was one of the first ones to come into it. South Carolina is really big Texas. Georgia.

[00:16:39] , so there's some ones that have a lot of of them because they were kind of the start of it, and there's others that are trickling in. So again, I feel like if this is something, if education is something that you're passionate about, this could be a great program to get behind and to try to implement in as many schools as we possibly can.

[00:16:57] Two programs that I learned about that I did not know about. For military kids. So we already talked about purple star schools. We're gonna put that to the side. So two resources in my research for Purple star schools that I found were , , the organization called Student to Student.

[00:17:14] , it was, again, this is all under the msec, the Military Child Education Coalition. , the student to student was established in 2004, and, , it's a student program that brings military and civilian students together to welcome new students, create that positive ENV environment. help support academic excellence, and then to ease that transition, which I think is, I think that is so hard for our military kids, right?

[00:17:45] They're walking into these schools, , and I mean, like Savannah walked into this elementary school as a fourth grader, so one of the, and she doesn't know any, you know, like that's hard. And, and then especially like middle school, like they're getting into. Weird. You remember? Right? It's just socially awkward and everybody's changing, and there's the mean kids and there's this clique and there's that, and you're just like trying to navigate this like , this like teen, you know?

[00:18:15] Oh my gosh. Drama central a lot of the time. Not all the time. A lot of them. , it's just, it's hard. It's hard. So, , student to student, I hadn't heard of that before. , but that's a program that Msec has. , four military kids. And then the other one, which I think is awesome is it's called Bloom Military Teens.

[00:18:35] And I will link both of those, the student to student and the bloom. military teens in the, um, in the show notes. So Bloom military teens. It was started by military teens, right? They're like, Hey, we see a need here. Something needs to change. Something needs to happen. We're having a hard time. What can we do to support ourselves?

[00:18:55] And there's a blog. There's all kinds of stuff. They've got a really great, , website. They do virtual get togethers. They've just got all kinds of stuff. So if you've got a military kid that's a teen and you are not familiar with Bloom, check that out. Tons of content there. Okay, so that is what I have for you for today is Purple Star schools and then those other resources that I shared with you from M Ssec.

[00:19:23] Okay? So that's what we talked about today, next week. , I did find a really cool resource about helping our. Again, we're talking about schools today, helping your kids transition through school. It's a book. So I'm gonna be, , reading that and coming back to you with the, , what I have gleaned from that and share that resource with you guys.

[00:19:42] How can we help our kids transition better in schools where we're moving all of the time? And that's it. Okay. Month of military child. Purple up. Here we go.