RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on the Educational Opportunity for Military Children are recognizing 59 schools as “Purple Star” schools. The Purple Star designation is awarded to military-friendly schools that have demonstrated their commitment to meeting the needs of military-connected students and their families.
“Virginia is proud to have one of the nation’s largest numbers of military-connected students in our schools, but we also know that repeated relocations or separation when a parent is deployed can be challenging for military families,” said Governor Northam. “I commend the students, educators, and administrators at these 59 schools for leading by example and working to create supportive learning environments.”
“As a former Marine, I recognize and appreciate the sacrifices required of each member of a military family,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “When we celebrate schools for their commitment to these military-connected students and families, we also celebrate and support the efforts of our Armed Forces.”
To qualify for a Purple Star, schools must have a trained staff member designated as a primary point of contact for military families and students. The point of contact also serves as a liaison between the school and local military communities. Schools must also demonstrate their commitment to meeting the needs of military students by providing resources and programming on issues important to military families, such as transitions and academic planning.
“Virginia is committed to minimizing the impact of the inevitable disruptions military-connected students experience as their families move from assignment to assignment in service to our country,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane, who also serves as chairman of the Virginia Council. “These schools have embraced this commitment by earning Purple Star designations, and I encourage every school to follow their lead.”
This is the first year VDOE and the Virginia Council have designated Purple Star schools. Virginia public schools earning Purple Star awards are as follows, by division:
- Chesapeake — B.M. Williams Primary, Camelot Elementary, Cedar Road Elementary, Deep Creek Central Elementary, Deep Creek Middle, Grassfield Elementary, Grassfield High, Great Bridge High, Hickory Middle, Indian River High, Oscar F. Smith High, and Western Branch High
- Chesterfield County — C.E. Curtis Elementary, Carver College and Career Academy, Hopkins Road Elementary, Matoaca High and Spring Run Elementary
- Fairfax County — Anthony T. Lane Elementary, Clermont Elementary, Colin Powell Elementary, Flint Hill Elementary, Fort Belvoir Primary, Fort Belvoir Upper, Hayfield Secondary, Hunt Valley Elementary, Longfellow Middle, North Springfield Elementary, Rocky Run Middle, Sangster Elementary, Sunrise Valley Elementary, and Waynewood Elementary
- Gloucester County — Achilles Elementary and Gloucester High
- Manassas — Weems Elementary
- Montgomery County — Blacksburg High
- Norfolk — Mary Calcott Elementary and Tarrallton Elementary
- Prince William County — Mary G. Porter Traditional and Sonnie Penn Elementary
- Stafford County — Colonial Forge High, Conway Elementary, Kate Waller Barrett Elementary, Park Ridge Elementary, and Rocky Run Elementary
- Suffolk — Northern Shores Elementary
- Virginia Beach — Floyd Kellam High, Great Neck Middle, Hermitage Elementary, Salem High, Shelton Park Elementary and White Oaks Elementary
- Williamsburg-James City County — J.Blaine Blayton Elementary
- York County — Coventry Elementary, Grafton Bethel Elementary, Tabb Middle and Yorktown Middle
The following three private schools also qualified for Purple Star awards: Holy Cross Academy in Stafford County, Saint Louis School in Alexandria and Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Newport News.
Schools earning the award receive a Virginia Purple Star commemorative coin to display and are listed as a Purple Star school on the VDOE Military Families webpage. Purple Star schools retain the designation for three years before being required to reapply.
Virginia is home to several of the largest and most important military installations in the nation. The Defense Manpower Data Center estimates that there are more than 73,000 school age military-associated children of active duty members in Virginia.
The Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children was created in 2009 to consider any and all matters related to the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The compact expresses the commitment of participating states to remove barriers to academic success for children of military families.