San Benito school receives Purple Star Campus Designation

SAN BENITO — This school district’s efforts in applying for this award over the summer proved to be successful.

San Benito CISD’s Miller Jordan Middle School received a 2020-2021 Purple Star Campus Designation from the Texas Education Agency.

The designation recognizes Texas district and charter schools that show their support and commitment to meeting the unique needs of military connected students and their families.

The Board of Trustees and school officials discussed the special recognition during a meeting held on Monday.

“We heard a couple of weeks ago that Miller Jordan received a purple star designation. We’re so proud,” Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services Sara A. Alvarado said.

According to Alvarado, a banner will be made to recognize the campus.

“This designation is very important and we never must forget our military individuals that serve our country and I always say this, we’re here today for those that serve our country,” she said.

The award was created by the 86th Texas Legislature through Senate Bill 1557 and became effective on April 9 of this year.

Qualifying schools need to meet four areas of criteria to receive the designation, such as creating and maintaining an easily accessible web page that includes information for military-connected students and their families.

Some other criteria includes — designating a campus-based military liaison that must support military connected students and their families and offer professional development opportunities for staff members on issues related to military-connected students.

Miller Jordan Middle School’s Leadership Officer Training Corps (LOTC) program is led by Petty Officer Matthew Barlow.

Barlow is a class of 2004 graduate of San Benito and served eight years in the United States Navy.

According to Alvarado, Miller Jordan Middle School Principal Jo Ann Fernandez and Secondary Instructional Implementation Director Eliza R. Gomez completed the application process for the Purple Star Campus Designation.

Fernandez said receiving the designation is a great honor not just for the school’s teachers and students, but for the community as well.

“Mr. Barlow has done an outstanding job in promoting and developing the LOTC program and developing those leadership skills and character traits in our students that will help them to be successful in life,” Fernandez said. “I’m so very proud of them, our students and our campus and we’re beyond honored to receive such a great distinction.”

Gomez said the district is very privileged to have the distinction and designation of being a Purple Star Campus.

“I think that is attributed to Mrs. Fernandez’s leadership and hopefully we’ll have other campuses do the same, and I also thank all of those who have served in the military as well,” she said.

ahernandez@valleystar.com