Press "Enter" to skip to content
Richmond students are meeting in the Vieweg School facility until the construction of the new Richmond is completed. / Laura Austin Photo

Richmond Elementary earns Purple Star Distinction

Sierra Sands Unified School District (SSUSD)–   The Sierra Sands Unified School District is pleased to announce that. Richmond Elementary School is one of 44 schools statewide selected in 2023-2024 as a California Purple Star School. There are now a total of 127 Purple Star schools in California.

These schools must meet criteria and offer critical transition support for military-connected students and their families.

Per the California Department of Education, “The California Purple Star School Designation Program (Purple Star Program) seeks to reduce the burden on military-connected students and their families by articulating the most critical transition supports for military-connected students and their families by publicly designating schools that meet certain requirements. The program signals which schools are the most committed and best equipped to meet their unique needs.

The Purple Star Program was designed to help mitigate the challenges of high mobility of military students by setting standards for and publicly designating military-friendly schools. The Purple Star Program’s true value derives from its potential to:

● Centralize and make knowledge accessible,

● Develop stakeholder networks, and

● Support schools in cultivating and communicating cultural competency in supporting military-connected families.”

“We are proud here at Richmond to be designated as a Purple Star School,” according to Principal Michael Yancey. “Richmond Elementary School has been located on the Naval Air. Weapons Station – China Lake since 1955. Richmond has been closely connected to the military community and has a long history of close involvement with our military students and families and their unique challenges for many years. We interface regularly with the base command, the base School Liaison Officer, and our full-time on-campus Military Family Life Counselor. We have had a very active Anchored4Life transition program for the past four years, and our school is even featured on the Anchored4Life website under the Anchored4Life Program Provides Tools For

Kids In Transition.”

“Our schools have a long history of supporting our military-connected students and families, and it is great to have the California Department of Education validate our effective programs with this award,” stated Dr. April Moore, Superintendent of Sierra Sands Unified School District.

“Captain Vaughan and I have set a goal of having each of the five SSUSD schools on federal land earning this designation. We are proud that Richmond Elementary School, our first school to apply, has earned this award.”

Captain Jeremy Vaughan stated, “I am proud of the effort and the care put forth by Richmond Elementary School, our amazing School Liaison Officer Ms. Jessie Vazquez, and Dr. Moore’s excellent SSUSD team to achieve this important milestone. Military children sacrifice for our nation in ways different from their parents’. Changing duty stations means changing friends, sports teams, and opportunities, yet these children have never personally signed up for that military way of life. Having an entire school district like SSUSD invested in direct support to those military children eases their burden and is another reason why NAWS China Lake and Ridgecrest continues to rise together. Go Tigers!”

Richmond is planning a Purple Up Day presentation on April 15, 9-9:30 out in front of our school with all students and staff present to share in celebrating our designation as a Purple Star School.