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Strawberry Crest being awarded the Gold Star for its JROTC program

Going for the Gold! Strawberry Crest's JROTC Charger Cadets Receive A Gold Star

March 15, 2019

Thank you to our guest author John Ingraham, Strawberry Crest High School’s JROTC Commander

Since 2005, the U.S. Army JROTC program has been accredited by a national agency known as AdvancED.  As an accredited special purpose program, JROTC must adhere to AdvancED’s standards for quality. Based on recommendations by AdvancED, the Army developed a new evaluation program, the JROTC Program for Accreditation (JPA).   

The JPA gathers data, information and evidence to support the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in the JROTC Program.

The Charger Battalion has never received a JPA evaluation until now.  All cadets were assigned specific tasks to perform in order to cover all areas on the inspection. 

Alpha Company was given the mission to receive the inspection team.  The Battalion Commander, c/LTC Taylor Johnson and the Command Sergeant Major, c/CSM Eric Ingersoll welcomed the team and introduced them to the school administration.  The team was then given a tour of the school campus in order to give them some perspective of Strawberry Crest High School.

The Battalion Staff was waiting for the team when they arrived in the JROTC classroom.  Following brief introductions, the staff briefed the team on the Charger Battalion’s continuous improvement plan for 2018-2019.  The staff identified “participation” as the focused area requiring improvement.  The staff effectively explained its plan for improving participation in the battalion.  “We were able to illustrate significant improvement in participation for parades, drill meets, and community service events,” said Cadet Captain Mark McCabe, the Battalion Operations Officer.

Next, Junior Leaders gave a briefing on the Battalion’s ‘Service Learning Project’.  This year the project was a Toys-For-Tots mission.  Dubbed Operation Santa-Berry, the project provided toys for hundreds of families in east Hillsborough County.  The leader of the service learning team was Cadet First Sergeant Kassidy Raimondi.  Her team included: Major Destiny Cattery, 2LT Morgan White, 1SG Amber Hatton, SGT Austin Rozear, and Private First Class Eric Zell.  “Operation Santa-Berry allowed our cadets to make a big impact in this community”, said Raimondi.  “The community benefited and so did we! That’s what service learning is all about”.

Even the JROTC Instructors’ Portfolios were inspected to verify instructional standards are adhered to.  The team also verified that instructors are continuing to grow educationally and professionally.

The inspection team also verified that cadets are fully trained in drill and ceremonies.  The Unarmed Platoon led by Command Sergeant Major Eric Ingersoll received all high marks.  The Color Guard was led by 2LT Morgan White and received high marks as well.

A group of cadets from each class level had their cadet portfolios inspected by the team.  The portfolios included extensive evidence of individual assessment such as the learning style inventory and personal skills maps. Cadets included a 5-year plan that is monitored and updated in the portfolio.  The end product is a comprehensive record of the cadets’ contributions and achievements in JROTC and the school. Cadet Master Sergeant Thomas Parker, the 2018-19 SCHS Cadet of the Year, worked very hard to insure his portfolio captured all of his credentials.  “We are able to update our portfolio from anywhere at any time by using our cell phones. I used the data in my Cadet Portfolio to compete at the Cadet of the Year Board,” said Parker.

During each period, cadets in every company conducted an in-ranks inspection.  Local U.S. Army recruiters volunteered their personal time to make the inspection a success.  Recruiters inspected the cadets for compliance with uniform, hair and grooming standards.  Cadets also had to demonstrate mastery of general knowledge questions in first aid, geography, American government, history and current events.

The inspection team gave the cadet staff and other key JPA personnel an out-brief in the JROTC classroom.  The team announced that the Charger Battalion had earned its Gold Star with a score of 96.5%.  Our Charger JROTC unit will now be designated an Honor Unit with Distinction (HUD).  The new certification is good for 3 years.

“I am so proud to have the opportunity to command this battalion during the JPA”, said Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Taylor Johnson.  “Our results clearly illustrate that hard work pays-off”.

First Sergeant Lyas, Lieutenant Colonel Ingraham and the entire JROTC Charger Corps of Cadets would like to thank the SCHS faculty and staff for your incredible support of this inspection.

Please congratulate your JROTC Charger Cadets for an outstanding performance on their JPA inspection.

For more about Strawberry Crest: http://strawberrycrest.mysdhc.org/

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