Three Prince George County Public Schools Campuses Earn VDOE Purple Star School Honors for Excellence in Supporting Military Students & Families

December 6, 2023
Prince George County Public Schools is proud to announce two elementary schools, David A. Harrison Elementary School and Middle Road Elementary School, and J.E.J. Moore Middle School have been recognized as Distinguished Purple Star Schools by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and The Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (Virginia Council) for their commitment to supporting military-connected students and families on their campuses.
In early November, the VDOE announced these three Prince George County schools were among 110 across the commonwealth to be designated as Purple Star Award-winning schools. For both D.A. Harrison Elementary and Middle Road Elementary, formerly William A. Walton Elementary School, this is the second time each campus has received this award.
Additionally, the VDOE’s pre-Veterans Day announcement saw J.E.J. Moore Middle School recognized as a Purple Star Award recipient. This is the first time the secondary-level campus, serving the district’s sixth and seventh-grade students, has received this award from the Virginia Department of Education and The Virginia Council. 
The Virginia Purple Star Designation is awarded to military-friendly schools that have demonstrated a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military. Schools are honored with a Purple Star Award if they complete all required activities, plus one optional activity. The Virginia Department of Education’s Military Student Support Process Action Team (MSSPAT) reviews school applications for the award, with final approval on awards being made by the Virginia Council.
The latest recognition now sees six of the district’s educational campuses, including all five of Prince George County’s elementary schools, being named Purple Star Award winners. In 2022, L.L. Beazley Elementary, North Elementary, and South Elementary Schools were honored during the annual fall recognition.
On December 4, 2023, the Prince George County School welcomed staff from this year’s Purple Star award-winning schools to its regular business meeting, where they received special banners they can display at their campuses highlighting their accomplishment and warm congratulations from school board members.
Each award-winning school principal reflected on what it means to receive this recognition and how their schools foster strong relationships with its military-connected students and families.
"We are honored to receive this prestigious award for a second time, and believe it is a statement that Middle Road Elementary’s faculty and staff are truly the champions for students who go above and beyond to serve our military families," Middle Road Elementary School Principal Chrystal Barnwell said. "One way we continue to support our military connected students is through our Lunch Bunch Group. This small group is facilitated by our school counselor in conjunction with our Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC) to help military students adjust to the school environment by creating a safe space in which they can communicate their feelings and concerns, connect with other military students, and share resources. If there is a particular student that may need community resources or support, our MFLC reaches out to the students’ families to connect them with the appropriate community resources. We are proud of our strong partnership with our military connected families.
"Our entire community here at J.E.J. Moore Middle School is thrilled to earn the Virginia Department of Education's distinguished recognition of being named a Purple Star School," J.E.J. Moore Middle School Principal Nicholas Ligatti said. "We continue to be committed to our military students and their families, and we host various events throughout the year. Moore students enjoy taking part in our 'Straight Talk with Soldiers' program, where they get to connect with local service members, and our whole community comes together to make our annual Memorial Day ceremony honoring the late Captain Jesse Ozbat and local fallen heroes a meaningful tribute to our military. The ceremony is hosted each May before Memorial Day and has been a J.E.J. Moore Middle community tradition for over a decade."
"Our Harrison family is honored to be recognized by the Virginia Department of Education & Virginia Council as a Purple Star School for a second time," David A. Harrison Elementary School Principal Christopher Scruggs said. "This recognition means so much to us because nearly half our student population is connected to the military. We strive to support our Bears through their challenges, especially as a military child. We also enjoy celebrating their success and making them feel part of our Harrison family, no matter how short their stay may be. Our ambassador program offers a chance to take the lead in sharing their knowledge and experiences with new students and their families. Each year, our activities calendar features a variety of events that show support for our military community. A popular event is our 'My Military Life' day, where our military-connected parents visit classes to tell students what a day in their lives is like as they serve our nation. It's an excellent opportunity for our kids to learn about the military and helps nurture our connection between our school, families, and partners at Fort Gregg-Adams."
"Prince George County Public Schools joins the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Council in offering congratulations to each of our Purple Star Award-winning schools and thank them for their commitment to supporting our military-connected students and families," Division Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said. "The collaborative relationship our district shares with Fort Gregg-Adams is a valuable resource to us as we strive to support the needs of our school community, including our military-connected families. The diligent work of our school staff to connect with our military community and provide support and resources to their families is exemplified in the recent recognitions by the VDOE and Virginia Council."
To learn more about the Virginia Purple Star Designation Program, visit the Virginia Department of Education website by clicking HERE.