Purple Star Campus designation available for Oklahoma school districts

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) announced it is accepting applications for school districts in the state to apply for Purple Star Campus designation. The Purple Star program is designed to help schools respond to the educational and personal challenges military-connected children face during their transition to a new school and keep them on track to be college, workforce and life-ready.
 Purple Star Campuses in the state are authorized under Senate Bill 54 (2021), authored by Sen. John Michael Montgomery (R-31, Lawton and Rep. Daniel Pae (R-62, Lawton). Both legislators represent districts in the Fort Sill field artillery school area. Oklahoma is the 12th state in the nation to implement the Purple Star program.
 Oklahoma public schools include nearly 30,000 military-connected students whose parents or guardians are active-duty military or serve in a reserve or National Guard component. Purple Star Schools provide academic and wraparound support services specific to military-connected children, who change schools much more frequently than their civilian peers and face high rates of academic and emotional stress.
 “We know the reality of military life is frequent mobility, with these families moving three times more often than others,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “The Purple Star program recognizes the sacrifices these men and women make for our country, and we must prioritize the education and well-being of their children. I encourage districts already serving the unique needs of military-connected students to apply to become a Purple Star Campus or begin the process to build out supports that would allow them to qualify in the future.”
 To qualify for the Purple Star distinction, school districts must:
 • Designate a staff member to serve as a military liaison to students and families.
 • Maintain an easily accessible webpage with resources specific to military students and families, including relocation assistance, records transfer, academic planning, counseling services, etc.
 • Operate and maintain a student-led transition program to help facilitate military-connected students’ entry into the school/district.
 • Provide school employees professional development related to military-connected students.
 • Offer an initiative to recognize a military child, partner with a military installation or issue a resolution in support of military children and families.
 Schools serving military-connected students can apply to be a Purple Star campus in two phases. The first, for districts already qualified based on the above criteria, has an application deadline of Oct. 3.