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Six additional HCS schools earn Virginia Purple Star Award

The Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children are recognizing six Hampton City schools as “Purple Star” schools for the 2023-2024 school year, for a total of 11 HCS schools from 2022 to 2024. The six schools are Syms Middle School, Smith Elementary School, Cooper Elementary Magnet School for Technology, Phenix PreK-8 School, Langley Elementary School, and Machen Elementary School. 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.


The five Hampton schools that have received the designation in 2022-2023 are: Armstrong School for the Arts, Burbank Elementary School, Jones Magnet Middle School, Eaton Fundamental Middle School, and Kecoughtan High School.

To qualify for a Purple Star, schools must have a staff member designated as the point of contact for military students and families. The point of contact serves as the primary link between the military family and the school. 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 academic planning and transitions between schools, divisions, and states.


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.  


“Receiving the Purple Star status is not just an accolade, but a long-term commitment to nurturing the well-being and success of military-connected students,” said Jennifer Oliver, HCS director of community and government relations. “We are extremely grateful that the VDOE has recognized six additional schools as 2023-2024 Purple Star honorees. These schools have demonstrated a welcoming environment and a promise to acknowledge and honor the sacrifices of military families. With a total of 11 Purple Star schools, HCS will remain dedicated to creating environments where military-connected students can feel a sense of belonging, even in the face of constant change.” 


This is the sixth year VDOE has designated Purple Star schools. Since 2018, VDOE and The Council on the Interstate Compact on the Educational Opportunity of Military Children have provided 569 awards to deserving schools across Virginia. Of these, 360 have maintained an active designation and 148 have received the designation twice.


Virginia is home to several of the largest and most important military installations in the nation. Currently there are more than 78,000 school age military-connected students attending schools in the commonwealth. These include students with parents on active duty, in the reserves or in the Virginia National Guard.


The Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children was created in 2009 to oversee the commonwealth’s implementation of 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.