Assigned to ED                                                                                                    AS PASSED BY COMMITTEE






Fifty-Sixth Legislature, Second Regular Session





purple star school designation; requirements


Establishes the Purple Star School Program (Program) within the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to identify schools that provide transition support to military students and their families. Outlines Program eligibility and reporting requirements.


Arizona is a member of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (Compact). The Compact's purpose is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families by frequent moves and the deployment of their parents by facilitating: 1) timely school enrollment; 2) the student placement process; 3) the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs and participation in extracurricular activities; and 4) the on-time graduation of children of military families (A.R.S. § 15-1911).

The Program has been adopted in numerous states to provide transition support to military students and their families. Schools within 38 states have adopted the Program, with most states requiring: 1) a designated staff point of contact; 2) professional development for staff; 3) a campus or student-led transition team; 4) a dedicated school or district webpage that provides
military-experience related resources; and 5) events that recognize and celebrate military students in the school community (2022 Purple Star Schools Program).

There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.


1.   Establishes the Program within ADE to identify schools that provide transition support to military students and their families.

2.   Authorizes ADE to adopt policies and procedures to implement the Program.

3.   Allows any school that offers instruction in kindergarten or any combination of grades 1 through 12 to apply to ADE to participate in the Program.

4.   Allows a private school to participate in the Program on the same terms and subject to the same requirements as a public school.

5.   Requires ADE to approve a Program application if a school demonstrates that the school:

a)   provides professional development training related to the unique needs of highly mobile students and military students to at least 70 percent of its employees, including administrators;

b)   designates an employee to serve as the school's point of contact for the Program;

c)   establishes a peer mentorship program for military students;

d)   holds at least one patriotic event during each school year; and

e)   creates and maintains a website or dedicated webpage on the school's website with resources for military students and their families.

6.   Requires the first professional development training provided by a school to be in-person.

7.   Specifies that subsequent training, including professional development training provided to new employees and the annual continuing education and training provided to all employees, may be provided electronically.

8.   Specifies that the professional development training provided by a Program school may include only politically neutral instruction and materials.

9.   Allows a school to accept in-kind donations for the professional development training.

10.  Requires a school to consider whether an employee has a military background or other relevant experiences when designating its point of contact.

11.  Requires a designated point of contact to:

a)   complete the professional development training;

b)   oversee the peer mentorship program and provide information about the peer mentorship program to military students and their families;

c)   coordinate with school administrators to ensure that the school meets all Program requirements, including monitoring the percentage of employees who have received the professional development training, organizing the required patriotic event and collecting data for the annual report;

d)   update the Program website at least one time during each school year; and

e)   serve as the school's primary point of contact for military students and their families to assist with transitions into and out of the school.

12.  Requires, for the peer mentorship program, school administrators to select and train enrolled students to serve as student mentors and support military students who are transitioning into the school.

13.  Requires the patriotic event to recognize the service of military members and their families and educate attendees about military service in the United States and Arizona.

14.  Requires a school's Program website or webpage to include:

a)   contact information for the designated point of contact;

b)   information about the peer mentorship program and how to participate in the program;

c)   information regarding the most recent, and if available, upcoming patriotic event; and

d)   other relevant transition information and resources for military students or other highly mobile students.

15.  Authorizes ADE to develop additional Program eligibility requirements.

16.  Requires, by June 30, each Program school submit an annual report to ADE that includes, for the current school year:

a)   the number of military students served by the Program school;

b)   a description of the peer mentorship program, including the number of trained student mentors and military students who participated in the peer mentorship program;

c)   an attestation that the school updated the Program website or dedicated webpage at least once during the school year;

d)   the percentage of employees who received the professional development training;

e)   a description of each patriotic event held by the school during the school year; and

f) the contact information for the school's designated point of contact.

17.  Requires ADE to review the Program reports to determine whether each Program school continues to satisfy Program eligibility requirements.

18.  Requires ADE, if it is determined that a Program school failed to submit a Program report or demonstrate that it meets Program eligibility requirements, to notify the school of the determination and the specific action required to cure the deficiency.

19.  Requires ADE, if a Program school fails to submit to ADE evidence that the deficiency has been cured within 90 days after the notice is issued, to notify the school that it is no longer approved to participate in the Program and may not represent itself as a Program school to the public.

20.  Defines military as the army, navy, air force, space force, marine corps, coast guard and national guard and any military reserve unit.

21.  Defines military student as an individual who is:

a)   enrolled in or eligible for enrollment in a kindergarten program or any of the grades 1 through 12 in Arizona; and

b)   a dependent of a veteran or of an active-duty member of the military.

22.  Defines Purple Star School as a school approved to participate in the Program.

23.  Defines veteran as a person who has served in the military and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

24.  Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Amendment Adopted by Committee

· Specifies that the professional development training may include only politically neutral instruction and materials.

House Action                                                                 Senate Action

ED                   1/23/24      DP          9-0-0-1                  ED             2/28/24      DPA       7-0-0

3rd Read          2/1/24                       55-0-1-0-4

Prepared by Senate Research

February 29, 2024