The North Dakota Purple Star Award

Written by: Joy-Nicole Smith, School Liaison Program Manager, GS-11 Department of the Air Force School Liaison Program

Did you know the average military-connected child will experience 6 to 9 different schools during their K-12 education experience? This is a challenge for many of our military connected students. However, there are organizations and agencies such as the DAF School Liaison Program focused on the quality education of military connected students across the United States and Overseas.


With more than 1.1 million military connected students attending public institutions, issues surrounding quality education are a top priority for the Department of the Air Force. As a result, the North Dakota Purple Star Award is an incredible opportunity to help schools respond to the educational and social-emotional challenges military-connected children face to keep them on track to be college, workforce, and life-ready.


The North Dakota Purple Star Award for military-friendly schools recognizes schools that show a major commitment to serving students and families connected to our nation’s armed forces. Applicants for the Purple Star Award are selected by The Purple Star Advisory Board which is formed by representatives of the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, Minot and Grand Forks AFB, ND National Guard, school districts, school counselors and military-connected stakeholders.
A few weeks ago, at an assembly at North Plains Elementary School, a slide stated, “We will make this place your home.” This statement was powerful and moving and shows how essential our schools are in creating environments for our students and families to thrive. With this, I believe our Minot AFB Schools and other schools and districts are poised and well positioned to serve our military connected students.


The hope of the MAFB School Liaison Office, is that as we prepare for the Month of the Military Child in April, we see many Purple Star Awardees! The time to “Purple Up” is coming!

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