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Arts IMPACT Middle School: First CCS School to Earn Prestigious Purple Star Designation

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April 19, 2024 – Arts IMPACT Middle School (AIMS) is the first Columbus City School and the first urban middle school in Ohio to receive a Purple Star Designation!

The Purple Star Award recognizes schools with a significant commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military. Schools that earn the award receive a special Purple Star recognition to display on their school’s website and in their building.

"This means a great deal to our school and community because we are recognizing military veterans, current service members, and their families," said AIMS Assistant Principal Joshua Battistone.

This designation is more impactful because AIMS is housed on the campus of a former military base – Fort Hayes – and AIMS Principal Erica Dodson and Battistone grew up in military families. Additionally, Battistone served in the Montana Army National Guard.

Congress established the Fort Hayes military base in 1862, initially naming it the Columbus Arsenal. After the American Civil War broke out, Ohio realized it needed a place to receive and issue arms and manufacture and store ammunition. The 70-acre property was eventually repurposed as a military recruiting intake and training facility and renamed in 1922 in honor of President and Ohioan Rutherford B. Hayes.

Fun fact: Some CCS staff members have family members or spouses who went through the military intake process in what is now the District’s Central Enrollment Office on the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center. 

Our current Fort Hayes Career Center was established in 1976 on the military base site, which is nestled right next to AIMS. 

When you walk into AIMS, a colorful sign hanging in the office window stating “all are welcome” enforces how AIMS seeks to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable in its building.

“Our purpose is to support all groups of students at AIMS; however, we realized in the fall of 2023 that we were not servicing a specific group of students,” Battistone said. “Columbus City Schools believes in serving all students, and we realized that a specific group was not being served – that group being students of military families.”

Battistone and Dodson are thrilled to provide additional resources and support to military families living in the District to make their transition to the city of Columbus easier.

"As staff, we have to understand how difficult it is for military families to change schools,” Battistone said. "We have to be flexible and understanding, and we must support every student."

Being the only public school within the I-270 outer belt with a Purple Star means those relocating and looking for a school now have one in the city that will welcome them with open arms. A recognized Purple Star shows families that it is a school that cares about and understands the situations of military families.

“We have big plans and hope that all high schools in the District with an ROTC program will become Purple Star schools, and then all middle and high schools will follow,” Battistone said. “AIMS will continue to be a beacon for military families in CCS.”

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPriority 3 - Strong Learning Communities in Every RegionPriority 4 - Authentic EngagementPortrait Attribute 1 - AdaptabilityPortrait Attribute 2 - CommunicationPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 5 - Global EmpathyPortrait Attribute 6 - Technology