Vinemont Schools receive prestigious Purple Star School designation

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Vinemont Elementary School and Vinemont High School recently received the Purple Star School designation, an achievement that comes from a commitment to supporting military students and their families within the Vinemont community. (Alabama Purple Star Schools)

VINEMONT, Ala. – Vinemont Elementary and Vinemont High School recently received the Purple Star School designation from the Alabama Purple Star Schools Program. This accolade recognizes the efforts of K-12 across the state that are committed and supportive of military students and their families as they transition to their new homes and schools.

The Purple Star School designation is not easily earned; schools must meet specific requirements that underscore their dedication to the needs of military-connected students. At Vinemont, this includes appointing a dedicated staff member as a liaison for military families, maintaining a Purple Star Schools Program page filled with resources on the school’s website and establishing a student-led transition program to assist peers who are new to the school or undergoing transitions.

Vinemont High School Assistant Principal Todd Johnson spearheaded the initiative to achieve this recognition at his school. “The Purple Star School was mentioned in a principal meeting during the first semester. So, I researched it and thought that VHS would be a great candidate for the Purple Star School,” Johnson explained.

His motivation was fueled by the significant number of VHS students, faculty and staff with military ties, “Once I started talking about and talking to students, I realized we almost have 20% of the student body that have direct ties to the military. We have numerous faculty members with ties to the military. So, with that much of a connection, I really wanted VHS to become a Purple (Star) School.”

To meet the necessary criteria, VHS underwent several enhancements, including the development of a comprehensive support structure for military families. Specific roles had to be created, such as a military liaison who ensures that military-connected students are identified and faculty is made aware of any special considerations that they may need. Johnson currently serves as the military liaison while the military welcoming team is made up entirely of students. Those students are Jana Wood, Sam Pierce, Kane Twilley and Trinity Sartin.

Johnson thanked those who played pivotal roles in ensuring those enhancements happened, saying, “I would like to thank Connie Hilton for adding to our great VHS homepage and also to Mandy Redding for helping me find resources that assisted me in fulfilling requirements so VHS could indeed become a Purple Star School. One more thank you to SGT Jake Hyde, our Marine recruiter here at VHS, who also found some valuable resources for our students that we put on our website.”

This recognition not only honors the hard work of the VHS faculty, staff and community, but also solidifies the school’s role as a welcoming and supportive environment for military families. “We want to make VHS welcoming to all students but especially want new families that serve in the military to have the resources and support they need,” Johnson emphasized.

With the Purple Star School designation, Vinemont Elementary School and Vinemont High School join 250 other schools in Alabama that have achieved the honor of being recognized as a Purple Star School since 2021. The schools were the only two in Cullman County to receive the designation this year.