Robert E. Lee Elementary School is one of 27 schools in the state this year to be awarded the Tennessee Purple Star School Award after recently receiving that designation from the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission.
“Our REL team is so excited about this wonderful news and is honored to be chosen as an awardee for the Purple Star School,” said Robert E. Lee Elementary Principal Mary Gilbert. “We are so fortunate to live in a community where we are all committed to serving our military-connected families and all students. With so many students and families connected with the Arnold Air Force base here, it is important we ensure a positive and smooth transition to school for our families that serve our country.”
This announcement comes in April, which celebrates the vital role of military children. On April 19, states, communities, and schools nationwide will wear purple to celebrate the commitment to military children and families. It is known as Purple Up! For Military Kids Day.
In 2019, The Tennessee Miltary Interstate Children’s Compact Commission State Council launched the Purple Star Schools Award Program, which is provided to military-friendly schools that display a major commitment to serving military-connected families and students. In 2022, Tullahoma High School became the first school inside Tullahoma City Schools to receive this designation.
To be named a Purple Star School Award, schools must complete four required school activities to achieve this designation, including at least one optional school activity. Firstly, the school must have an assigned staff point of contact for military-connected students and families. This point of communication serves as the primary liaison between the family and the school. The Robert E. Lee Elementary School contact people are Principal Mary Gilbert and Bookkeeper/Secretary Christina Eggleston.
Additionally, a school’s point of contact must complete a professional development course or session that covers topics outlined by the Miltary Interstate Children’s Compact Commission or special considerations for military-connected families and students.
Schools also must maintain a dedicated webpage with support materials and information for military-connected families and students. The link, which can be viewed here, must be easily located on the school’s home page, and all information must be current and contain the point of contact information.
Lastly, a school must complete one of the following activities and provide evidence of completion through pictures, videos, flyers, registration sign-in, links, and more.
- Professional development regarding special considerations and supports available for military-connected families and students is held during a staff meeting or workshop.
- A resolution passed by the school board publicized the school’s support for military students and families.
- Host an annual military-family program.
- Host a military appreciation event.
- Celebration of the Month of Military Child, which occurs in April.
- Form military family/committee/counseling groups to offer support.
REL has completed four of those optional activities, including its annual Veterans Day Presentation this past November. For the past two years, the district has enjoyed holding its annual Veterans Day Tribute Train, traveling to each campus in the district. However, due to weather, the most recent 2022 Tribute Train was forced to be canceled.
“I am extremely proud and honored that Robert E. Lee is the second TCS school to have received the Purple Star School Award,” said TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens. “As the daughter of an Army veteran and the wife of a Navy veteran, I have the utmost respect for all individuals who have served across all military branches. I commend Robert E. Lee Elementary School for receiving this award and hope to have several other campuses earn this same award in the years to come.”