The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has released the inaugural Purple Star Schools application. This prestigious recognition program, established by Education Article 7-129 and approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 2022, honors schools that go above and beyond to support military-connected students and their families. If your school is dedicated to creating a welcoming and supportive environment for these students, now is the time to apply for this esteemed designation.
Military Liaison: A staff member should be designated as military liaison, serving as the point of contact for newly enrolled military-connected students and their families. This person is also tasked with coordinating support programs for this population, connecting the students to needed resources, and generally aiding in their transition into the school. The school must have a process in place to identify and track military-connected students, including those with parents or guardians currently serving on active duty, in the reserves, or in the National Guard.
Digital Resources: The school’s website must have an easily accessible page of resources for military-connected students and their families. This page should include information that facilitates a smooth transition to the school, including the process for enrolling in the school and transferring records, preparing for moving schools, academic requirements, and available support services.
Peer-Led Transition Program: Whenever possible, schools should offer a student-led program tasked with orienting the student to both the physical and academic environments of the school through activities such as campus tours and a military-connected student orientation. If requested, this program should also offer military-connected students the opportunity to have a student leader accompany them throughout campus during their first week of enrollment.
Staff Training: School staff should receive appropriate training and professional development aimed at fostering an understanding of the unique challenges faced by military-connected students so that they may provide appropriate support. These training opportunities will be coordinated by the school’s designated military liaison.
Application Deadline: The application is now open and will close on November 28th. Interested schools must their applications prior to this deadline to be considered for this year's designation.
Who Can Submit: All public schools in Maryland are eligible to apply for the Purple Star School designation.
Recognition: Becoming a Purple Star School is a mark of distinction. It indicates that the school is dedicated to serving military-connected students and their families, which can boost the school's reputation and community engagement.
Impact: By creating a supportive environment for military-connected students, Purple Star Schools positively impact their educational experience and well-being, fostering a sense of belonging and stability. This is essential to furthering Maryland’s goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for all students.
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Kaitlin Quigley, Ph.D.Coordinator of Special Projects, Division of Student Support, Academic Enrichment, and Educational PolicyOffice: (410) firstname.lastname@example.org