North Carolina has long been home to a large population of active duty, guard, reserve and veteran armed service members. In recognition of the state’s rich military history, the Department of Public Instruction is pleased to recognize hundreds of schools as part of its Purple Star Award Designation initiative which first launched in the 2019-20 school year.
For the 2021-2022 school year, 299 schools, including 5 charter schools and 7 Department of Defense Education Agency (DODEA) schools, will receive Purple Star recognition. These schools hail from 15 districts across North Carolina and represent an increase from the 13 districts in which schools earned this recognition in the prior school year.
Additionally, 10 districts will be honored with the State Superintendent’s Purple Star District Award, as each school within those 10 districts qualify for Purple Star designation. These districts include DODEA Camp Lejeune Schools, Carteret County Schools, Craven County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Hoke County Schools, Moore County Schools, Pender County Schools, Wayne County Public Schools and Whiteville City Schools. The schools that have earned this recognition will be honored at a ceremony in the spring.
“As a mother of three public school students and a military spouse, I am all too familiar with the challenges military families face in education,” said State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. “It’s absolutely incredible to see almost 300 North Carolina Public Schools earn the Purple Star designation and a testament to our state’s commitment to serving every student and family. These schools are going above and beyond to meet the needs of military students and families, and I know firsthand how much it means to them.”
The department is proud to continue this initiative as a way to honor the schools that demonstrate military-friendly practices and show commitment to military students and families. Schools across the state applied for the special designation, and those deemed as Purple Star Schools completed several required activities, plus an optional activity, aimed at ensuring strong support for students of military families.
Schools earning the Purple Star Award were required to have a staff member as a designated point of contact for military students and families, a designated central administration staff member supporting the point of contact in the school and also the provision of annual professional development addressing special considerations for military students and families. Purple Star schools also provide a dedicated page on their websites for military family resources or links to the district’s webpage with military family resources as well as a transition program to support inbound and outbound military students and families, along with a checklist for their use.
For the optional activities, awarded schools selected from one of five activities with many of the schools opting for more than one. These include a school-hosted annual military recognition event such as Month of the Military Child, Month of the Military Family, Purple-Up! For Military Kids!, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day.