For the over 16,000 military-connected children in Alabama, life can be challenging. While moving from state to state or even out of the country, military children are drafted into a life full of change.

That's why the Alabama Legislature passed the Purple Star School Program Act in 2021.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey said when it was first implemented, he expected around 20 schools to participate in the program. In 2022, there were 53 schools enrolled. Now, that number has more than doubled to 122.

During the Alabama Department of Education meeting Thursday, Mackey recognized the importance of the program.

"I want to say a big thank you, there's a whole selection committee, a process that goes through this," Mackey said. "We've got banners for those schools, in addition to the resolutions."

The process to become a Purple Star School is time-consuming and rigorous. Organizers of the application process said they made it difficult for a reason. They wanted Purple Star Schools to gain the title by truly being passionate about helping K-12 students and their families as they transition to a new military base in Alabama.

Those involved at the school level must support student needs before they move to the area. They also have a mentoring program available to help students know about their surroundings and amenities.

Mackey asked all representatives from Purple Star Schools to stand up at the meeting.

With guidance from the Military Stability Commission, military families can now search for schools that best suit their children and are enrolled in the Purple Star School program.

Along with the 122 Purple Star Schools, there are 11 school districts in the state, where all schools are Purple Heart Schools.

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