Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced that 114 Florida schools are being recognized as “Purple Star” campuses based on efforts to serve students from military families.
The Purple Star schools are in Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Monroe, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.
The Purple Star designation comes from a 2021 law designed to acknowledge schools that have military-friendly programs and services. The schools must apply to the state Department of Education to be considered for the designation.
To receive the Purple Star label, schools must meet requirements such as reserving at least 5 percent of open-enrollment seats for students from military families and offering professional development to staff about meeting the families’ needs.
Schools also need to offer a “student-led transition program” that includes “a military peer-support system linking new military students with others at the school” within two weeks of the students’ arrival.
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DeSantis, a Navy veteran, made the announcement in Okaloosa County, which is home to Eglin Air Force Base, and has 35 Purple Star schools, DeSantis said.
The governor noted challenges that military families can face when they are “constantly moving around” and children have to change schools.
“We wanted to make sure in Florida we’re doing all that we can to head off those challenges, and to make sure that our school system was very sensitive to some of the challenges posed” to military families, DeSantis said.