Educational Programs

Supporting Military Families in Kentucky’s Schools

Published: 2/19/2024 11:24 AM
​A military connected youth is a child or adolescent with a close family member serving in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, and any status, Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard.

Students in military families face distinctive challenges related to transitioning between schools while their military family members are deployed, relocated and separated from each other.  Between kindergarten to high school graduation, military children move and change schools three times more often than their civilian peers.  These transitions have a big impact on military connected students and schools utilize multiple resources to help ease these changes for students academically and emotionally.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

Military families move between assignments on a regular basis.  While reassignments can often be a boon for career personnel, they can be challenging for the children of military families, especially for transitioning from school to school.

The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children seeks to ensure smooth transitions for those children of military families regardless of which states or school districts they are moving between.

All 50 states have signed the Interstate Compact which provides consistent policies affecting transitioning military students.  The Compact safeguards cooperation by federal, state and local education agencies across the country on enforcement, administration, finances, communications, data sharing and training.

But the real importance of the Compact is to provide military connected students the means to address important key educational transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.

Children of active duty members of the uniformed services, National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders, commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Unites States Public Health Service (USPHS), and members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year are eligible for assistance under the Compact.​

Additional information for Military Families:

​Military Connected Student Data Collection

As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements, the U.S. Department of Education requires school districts to identify students who are armed forces family members.  These students will be part of a new accountability subgroup for federal reporting purposes.  This information is voluntarily provided by the parent or guardian.

The form at the following link can be downloaded and customized to collect information about a parent or guardian who is currently serving as an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces.

​April – Month of the Military Child

April is designated as the “Month of the Military Child” and dedicated to celebrating all of the United States’ military connected youth.  The initiative began in 1986 under former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who designated April as a time to honor and recognize the sacrifices made by military families and especially their children.

For a few ideas for how your school can celebrate the military connected youth and their families in your school, learn more at:

Purple Up Day!

As part of the national effort to recognize military connected youth, April 15 of each year is designated as “Purple Up Day!”  This day is used for schools and organizations to hold programs and events in honor of military children.  Wearing purple is a visible way to show support and thank military youth for their strength and sacrifices.  Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is a combination of Army green, Marine Red, and Coast Guard, Air Force, and Navy blue.  The goal of is for military youth to see the support in their school, youth groups, and the community.

During Kentucky’s “Purple Up Day!” throughout the Commonwealth, everyone is encouraged to wear purple to show support and thank military youth for their strength and sacrifices.

Veterans Day Programs

November 11 of each year is set aside to observe our nation’s Veterans. Kentucky’s General Assembly passed a law regarding the observance of Veterans Day in schools KRS 158.075.  The law states that on Veterans Day or on one of the five days preceding Veterans Day, each school will dedicate instructional time devoted to the observance of Veterans Day. To develop a Veterans Day program, Kentucky public schools are encouraged to seek advice from the Kentucky Department of Veterans' Affairs and veterans' service organizations, such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

For more information, please visit the Veterans Day Programs resource.​​

Purple Star Award

The Purple Star Award is a state-sponsored recognition for individual schools’ dedication and support of military-connected youth.  The program started in 2017 in Ohio as a result of conversations with service members, veterans, educators, military family members, students and others about ways schools can better serve military students and their families and has spread to other states throughout the country.

The Purple Star Award designation lets military parents know, whether they are on active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves, that the school is dedicated to helping their child gain the education necessary to succeed.  The program is supported by the US Department of Defense, Military Child Education Coalition, and the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, and currently, 34 states implement the program in their schools and school districts.
The Purple Star Advisory Board, formed by the Kentucky departments of Education, Higher Education, Veterans Services and Behavioral Health, reviews the applications twice a year in the spring and fall.  Purple Star awardees receive a special recognition to display at their school along with statewide recognition for their achievement.

To apply for a Purple Star Award: Purple Star Award Application (

For help or questions please email​

Brian Perry
Director of Government Relations
Office of the Commissioner
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 892-6147​​

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