Moore County Schools is one of eight school districts in the state being recognized for their support of military students and families during the current school year. The school district will be honored with the State Superintendent’s Purple Star District Award. The schools will be recognized at a virtual ceremony on April 14, according to a press release from the N.C. Department of Public Instructions.
The other seven districts honored with the State Superintendent’s Purple Star District Award are DODEA Camp Lejeune Schools, Carteret County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Pender County Schools, Wayne County Public Schools and Whiteville City Schools.
In recognition of the state’s rich military history, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction recognized hundreds of schools as part of its Purple Star Award Designation initiative which first launched in the 2019-20 school year.
In addition to eight districts being recognized, 288 schools, including five charter schools and seven Department of Defense Education Agency (DODEA) schools, will receive the Purple Star recognition. These schools hail from 13 districts across North Carolina and represent an increase from the 10 districts in which schools earned the recognition in the prior school year. All 22 of Moore County Schools are Purple Star schools.
The award is designed to assist military families to identify military-friendly schools as they transition into North Carolina.
Last year, Moore County had 20 schools that were awarded the Purple Star distinction. The Moore County School District Military Liaison shared last year the school district was “well ahead of meeting the requirements since our schools already had systems in place such as New Student Orientations and Student 2 Student programs designed to support our military-connected students. Our goal for next school year is to have 100% of our campuses receive the award.”
The N.C. Department of Public Instructions continues this initiative as a way to honor the schools that demonstrate military-friendly practices and a commitment to military students and families. Schools across the state applied for the special designation, and schools deemed as Purple Star Schools are those that 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.
In addition, Purple Star schools 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. Schools may also have conducted a support project connecting the school with the military community, such as adopt-a-school, letters or care package collections for troops, a staff common-read book about military students or a school video or slideshow of pictures to highlight certain aspects of the school facility (i.e. gym, cafeteria, media center, typical classroom, playground) on its website as a way to help orient new students transitioning to the area.
Unique from the 2019-2020 school year is that the optional and required activities could be completed virtually, and many schools took advantage of that opportunity, from virtual Veteran’s Day ceremonies to virtually held professional development. Additionally, many schools found creative approaches, such as drive-thru Veteran’s Day parades, web-based recognitions and more.