Warren County R-III receives Purple Star designation

By Jack Underwood, Staff Writer
Posted 4/19/24

Warren County R-III and its schools received a Purple Star designation from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

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Warren County R-III receives Purple Star designation


Warren County R-III and its schools were among the schools and districts who received Purple Star designations from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this year. The designation represents the district's efforts to accommodate and support military families and especially their children. 

The individual schools that were recognized were Black Hawk Middle School, Daniel Boone Elementary School, Hopewell Academy Early Childhood Center, Warrenton High School and Warrior Ridge Elementary School. 

Even though the schools and the district were the recipients of the designation, to district officials, it really felt like a recognition of efforts that were already underway. 

“The application process of this was a lot of just demonstrating the things that our buildings already do,” Assistant Superintendent Brad Ross said. 

Those things include the development of support networks for military families, both active duty and reservists. Many of these families move frequently which can make it difficult to settle into new school environments. 

The district has structures in place to ensure that these students are supported as they transition into their new environment. 

“We call ourselves the Purple Star Committee,” Ross said. 

He was referring to a group of district and school staff members, including himself, who are volunteering their time to fill these roles at the district and individual school levels. They focus on liaising with arriving and existing military families in the district to connect them to the resources they need whether that be assistance at the educational level or with counseling. 

“If we have a family member that is deploying, that’s gonna be tough on our child,” Ross said. “Who can we talk to in order to set up a counselor session? Who can we talk to to make sure that the classes are being taken care of and that this child stays on pace to graduate?”

Those efforts have also included meeting with officials from Scott Air Force Base, who came to educate district staff on navigating the Military Interstate Children’s Compact, which helps military children who are moving frequently to navigate between different state’s education systems. 

For Ross, these efforts carry a special importance, as he himself has served with the Army Reserves since 2001. He also thought it was important to the military families that may not be in active duty, and as such may not receive the recognition they deserve. 

“The population of military children we serve are going to be children of National Guard and Army Reserves families primarily, and so that’s significant because they’re not easily identified,” Ross said. 

District and school officials were present at the State Capitol for a ceremony where they received the designation from DESE and the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission. 

“As we kick off April as the Month of the Military Child, it is an honor to award the Purple Star designations. Each of the schools and districts works to support service members and their families in their local community, while also ensuring military children are prepared for success later in life.”