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MCEC and CPRL Release 2022 Purple Star School Report

Posted: January 24, 2023

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas — The Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC), and the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University today released their 2022 report on the Purple Star Schools program.

The Purple Star Schools (PSS) program has currently been adopted in 37 states to help alleviate the pressures placed on students and their families as they adapt to their new school environments. Schools and districts that receive PSS designations are aware of and proactive in addressing the academic and socioemotional impacts that arise from being military-connected and provide support for these students to excel despite the challenges they face.

As the national advocate for the PSS program, MCEC partnered with CPRL in 2020 to better understand the impact and potential that the program presents for military-connected students and their families. In 2021, CPRL and MCEC released a summary report of findings related to the landscape of the program, including recommendations for improvements at the school, district, and state levels. 

The report released today builds on the findings from the 2021 summary report by providing additional detail on how the program has been implemented over time. It specifically focuses on how the program has evolved and how stakeholders have worked to ensure rigor and sustainability.

Drawing on research across six focus states, this report reviews the benefits of, and challenges associated with program requirements, provides insights on program administration at various levels, discusses the effects of COVID-19 on PSS, and provides recommendations at the state, district, and school levels to improve and expand the initiative.

In brief, CPRL found that:

  • There is variation across states, districts, and schools in terms of the robustness and quality of the PSS initiative.
  • State- and district-level professionals play an important role in ensuring compliance with program requirements and driving program quality and sustainability.
  • COVID-19 led to a reduction in in-person programming and made it difficult for schools to establish personal connections with students and families.
  • The PSS program continues to positively impact military-connected students, both academically and socioemotionally. It does this by streamlining the transition process, creating different avenues for ongoing communication, increasing staff awareness of and sensitivity to the unique needs of military-connected children, and facilitating opportunities for community-building.

The final report and an executive summary can be viewed on the MCEC website. Visit

For questions on Purple Star support, please contact Amanda Woodyard, MCEC Vice President of Education Services at

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Established in 1998, the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) is a nonprofit organization that solely exists to help the military-connected child and youth thrive. MCEC supports all military-connected children by educating, advocating, and collaborating to resolve education challenges associated with the military lifestyle.

MCEC serves as the National Advocate for Purple Star Schools, a state-granted designation for schools and districts serving military-connected students. The Purple Star School designation is approved at the state level and recognizes schools and districts that have demonstrated prioritization of readiness to support the social-emotional challenges faced by military-connected students.

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