By Superintendent Van Ayres

April holds a special significance as the Month of the Military Child, a tradition established in 1986 by former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger to honor the sacrifices and resilience of children in military families nationwide.

Did you know that approximately 80 percent of military-connected children attend public schools? Within Hillsborough County Public Schools, we proudly embrace over 4,000 military-connected families, valuing the diverse perspectives and experiences they bring to our educational community while acknowledging their unwavering strength and resilience.

Military-connected children often face the challenges of frequent relocations, parental deployments and the inherent uncertainties of military life. Most will change schools at the K-12 level three times more often than nonmilitary students, interrupting educational and social stability. Despite these obstacles, they exhibit remarkable courage and adaptability.

One significant way schools can show their support for military-connected students is by becoming a Purple Star School of Distinction. Purple Star Schools of Distinction are intentional in creating a supportive environment that recognizes the needs of military children and helps them thrive academically, socially and emotionally. We are proud that 21 of our schools have earned this prestigious distinction.

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