TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that an additional 73 Florida schools have been awarded the Purple Star School of Distinction due to their extensive support for military families. There are now nearly 200 schools throughout the state that have earned a Purple Star Schools designation.
“Florida is proud to be the most military and veteran- friendly state in the nation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As a veteran, I understand firsthand the challenges that many military families face, including frequent relocations and changing schools. Florida will continue to work to ensure schools provide support and resources for military and veteran families.”
“We are immensely grateful for Governor DeSantis’ support of military families through the Purple Star Schools of Distinction program, as well as his massive investment in initiatives that provide ongoing support to our veterans,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Purple Star Schools help meet the needs of children in military families, and we appreciate more and more schools rising up to provide this support.”
“Florida’s support for our military, veterans, and their families starts at the top,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Governor DeSantis, a veteran himself, understands the importance of putting our military and veterans first. I’m proud to be part of an administration that uses every resource at its disposal to create meaningful programs like the Purple Star School of Distinction Program. We will continue to serve those who have answered the call and find ways to support their families.”
To earn the Florida Purple Star School of Distinction Designation, schools are required to maintain the following:
- A school military point of contact to serve as the central liaison for military families.
- A school webpage for military students and families that includes resources like academic planning, transition planning, and educational opportunities.
- A student-led transition program to assist military students coming into the school.
- Staff professional development to identify and respond to the needs of military families.
- Five (5) percent open enrollment seats for military students and families.
- Three additional activities to support military families such as participating in a service project to connect the school with the military community, hosting an annual military recognition event, or offering a JROTC program, among others.
The Purple Star School of Distinction program was established by the Florida Legislature in 2021. In the first year, 124 schools completed all the requirements to earn the Purple Star School of Distinction designation. All Florida public schools and private schools participating in state scholarship programs are eligible.
Governor Ron DeSantis has supported active military and veteran families through numerous initiatives and legislation, including:
- Invested in the Heroes in the Classroom Bonus Program through the signing of House Bill 1035 to provide a one-time sign-on bonus to retired first responders and veterans who become a full-time classroom teacher.
- Established the Collegiate Purple Star Campuses Program to support military members, veterans and their families while they are attending a Florida college or university.
- Re-enacted the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to ensure a smooth transition for children of active-duty military families by enabling seamless school placement, enrollment, records transfers and verification of graduation requirements.
- Signed Senate Bill 896 into law to create the Military Veterans Certification Pathway to help veterans access jobs in education by allowing their military service to count toward the requirement for a temporary educator certificate under the mentorship of a certified teacher.
- Allowed state agencies to substitute work experience, including military experience, for postsecondary education to allow veterans to use on the job experience to apply for civilian jobs.
- Facilitated credit for military experience to guarantee military service members receive uniform postsecondary college credit or clock hours based upon their completion of military courses, trainings and occupations when applying to any Florida public postsecondary institution.
For more information about the Purple Star Schools of Distinction program and a complete list of schools,