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 2022-23 school year, 336 schools, including nine charter schools, received Purple Star recognition. In all, 17 districts across North Carolina were represented, an increase from the 15 districts where schools earned the Purple Star recognition last year. The award recipients were honored at a ceremony earlier this week that included remarks from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and Brigadier General Colin P. Tuley, deputy commanding general of the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps.
Additionally, 11 districts were honored with the State Superintendent’s Purple Star District Award, as each school in those districts qualify for Purple Star designation. These recognized districts are Carteret County Schools, Craven County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Hoke County Schools, Moore County Schools, Onslow County Schools, Pender County Schools, Scotland County Schools, Wayne County Public Schools and Whiteville City Schools.
“These Purple Star Awardees have gone beyond the standard call of duty to ensure their school and classroom environments accommodate military-connected students,” said State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. “Their dedication to these students allows them to be seen, heard, and valued in their new school and feel supported as they adjust to their new surroundings. The growth this program has seen in its few short years of existence is incredibly promising and something I am especially grateful for.”
The department is proud to continue this initiative as a way to honor 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.