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Pictured (from left) are Richland One Board Chairman Aaron Bishop; Dr. Tremekia Priester from the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Student Intervention Services; Richland One Military Community Liaison David Jackson; and Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon.

The South Carolina Department of Education has designated Richland One as a Purple Star School District in recognition of the district’s significant commitment to have programs and resources in place to support military families.

“South Carolina prides itself on being a military-friendly state, as we continue to serve over 16,000 military-connected students and their families,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “We commend Richland County School District One for going the extra mile by putting in place a support system for its military parents and students, and congratulate them on being designated as a Purple Star School District.”

To be a Purple Star School District, the school district must:

  • Assign a designated liaison to be a single point of contact for military families and military-connected students who is trained to support issues that face military families, including relocation, deployment, loss and academic training;
  • Create a website specifically for military families to provide current information about schools and the district;
  • Adhere to the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3) to ensure that students receive transfer credit from previous schools so they will not have to retake classes;
  • Ensure that transfer students can participate in sports, clubs and other school enrichment programs; and
  • Provide specialized training for school counselors, staff and administrators.

Purple Star School Districts also have student ambassadors at each school who help incoming military-connected students feel welcomed and help them navigate their new school. They also assist exiting students with the hardship of leaving.

Richland One’s Purple Star School District designation ceremony was held March 5 at Dreher High School. Speakers during the program included Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon; Dr. Tremekia Priester from the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Student Intervention Services; and Brigadier General Milford H. Beagle, Jr., commanding general at Fort Jackson.

Richland One is the fifth South Carolina school district to be awarded the Purple Star designation. Representatives from the Aiken County, Richland Two, Kershaw County and Sumter school districts, which are also Purple Star districts, were in attendance at Richland One’s ceremony.

“We currently serve 185 military-connected students and their families in Richland One, and we recognize their unique needs and challenges, including transitioning to new communities and new schools due to military transfers,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “We are proud to be named a Purple Star School District, and we will continue to build upon our efforts and our commitment to serve and support these students and families.”

For more information, contact David Jackson, Richland One’s military community liaison, at (803) 231-7144 or

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