CARTERET COUNTY — The Carteret County Schools is among eight systems in the state being recognized for their support of military students and families during the 2020-21 academic year.
According to a press release issued Thursday by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, eight districts, including Carteret, will be honored with the State Superintendent’s Purple Star District Award. The award is given to districts where all of the schools within the system qualify for Purple Star designations for their outstanding support of military families.
Carteret and the other seven school districts that have earned the recognition will be honored during a virtual ceremony Wednesday, April 14.
Other school systems qualifying for the award include the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) Camp Lejeune Schools, Cumberland County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Moore County Schools, Pender County Schools, Wayne County Public Schools and Whiteville City Schools.
As a military veteran, Carteret County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson said he was honored the school system has received the recognition.
“I am incredibly proud that every school in the Carteret County Public School System has been recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction with the Purple Star Award. More so, I am grateful for the efforts of the men and women throughout the school system who do all that they can to support our military-connected families,” Dr. Jackson said in an email statement Friday. “Whether a family member is serving as active duty, guard, reserve, or a veteran armed services member, or working on a military base, aiding their service to our country by actively offering strong support to their children is important work that our team is honored to do.
“As a veteran myself, I am proud to serve in one of the only eight school systems to additionally receive the State Superintendent's Purple Star District Award,” he continued. “We hope that when duty calls our servicemen and women are comforted in knowing that their children are being well cared for as they are off serving our country.”
In addition to eight districts being recognized, 288 schools, including five charter schools and seven DODEA schools, will receive the Purple Star recognition. These schools hail from 13 districts and represent an increase from the 10 districts which schools earned the recognition the prior school year.
The State Superintendent’s Office first launched the Purple Star Award Designation in 2019-20. Of the 288 schools awarded this year, 156 were new applicants. In addition, seven of the eight districts receiving the award are first-time winners for being military friendly.
“The department is proud to continue this initiative as a way to honor the schools that demonstrate military-friendly practices and a commitment to military students and families,” the press release states.
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, according to the release. 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 and 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, winners selected from one of five activities with many of schools opting for more than one. These included 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, such as the cafeteria, media center, a typical classroom or playground, on its website as a way to help orient new students transitioning to the area.
Unique for the 2020-21 school year is that the optional and required activities could be completed virtually, and many schools took advantage of that opportunity. Additionally, many schools found creative approaches, such as drive-thru Veteran’s Day parades, web-based recognitions and more.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.