Ohio Connections Academy Named 2018 Purple Star Designee

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Ohio Department of Education recognizes school for support of military students and families

Ohio Connections Academy’s Military Support Team (MiST) has been an important initiative for the school because it supports families that have committed themselves to serving their country and others.

Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) was recently selected by the Ohio Department of Education as a 2018 Purple Star designee recognizing the online school’s major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military.

“A number of our students come to us from a family where at least one of the parents is serving in the military. It makes us proud to learn our efforts to support those families received this recognition,” said Ohio Connections Academy Superintendent Marie Hanna. “Our primary goal is to ensure that these students and their families have the support they need to overcome the challenges associated with transfers, deployment, and other situations that arise for military families.”

In a letter from Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, the Department commended OCA for its outstanding service to military families and describes the school’s efforts as an inspiring model for other schools in Ohio to follow.

“OCA’s Military Support Team (MiST) has been an important initiative for the school because it supports families that have committed themselves to serving their country and others,” said Gene Stanford, Master Teacher at Ohio Connections Academy and MiST Leader. “Students that are impacted by military life and the commitment of service often bring unique experiences to the school community and the lives of others around them. It is with gratitude for this commitment that we do what we can as teachers and a school to support them.”

To receive the Purple Star designation, a school must complete a series of activities that include:

  • Have a staff point of contact for military students and families who serves as the primary liaison between them and the school;
  • The liaison completes professional development on special considerations for military students and families under federal law;
  • The liaison identifies and informs teachers of the military-connected students in their classrooms and the special considerations military families and students should receive;
  • Maintains a dedicated page on its website featuring resources for military families.

The school must also complete one of the following optional activities:

  • Provide professional development for additional staff on special considerations for military students and families;
  • School board pass a resolution publicizing the school’s support for military children and families;
  • Host a military recognition event that demonstrates a military-friendly culture.

The Purple Star Advisory Board is formed by the Ohio departments of Education, Higher Education, Veterans Services and the Adjutant General and helps to determine a school’s eligibility for the award. For more information on the Ohio Department of Education’s Purple Star designation visit http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/Ohio-Network-for-Military-Families-and-Veterans/Supporting-Ohio-s-Military-Families/Purple-Star-Award.

Ohio Connections Academy is a free, fully-online virtual public school that students in grades K-12 attend from home. OCA delivers high-quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers , a proven curriculum, as well as technology tools, and community experiences—online and in person—to create a supportive environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. More information about Ohio Connections Academy is available at http://www.OhioConnectionsAcademy.com.

About Ohio Connections Academy
Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) is a tuition-free, K-12 public eSchool that provides a fully accredited, high-quality and highly accountable virtual education experience for approximately 5,000 students from all over Ohio. OCA combines Ohio-certified teachers and a rigorous, individualized curriculum designed by national education experts and customized to meet the specific standards set by the Ohio Department of Education. For more information, call 800–382–6010 or visit http://www.OhioConnectionsAcademy.com.

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Mark Rickel
Ohio Connections Academy
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