Guest Speakers for Schools Statewide

The Common Ground Speaker Series delivers a means for schools and school districts to request guest speaker visits from military service organizations in an effort to positively impact student success. These guest speakers provide information about a variety of identified series topics which include, but are not limited to, the following: promoting literacy, substance abuse prevention, anti-bullying, drop-out prevention, the American flag, and patriotic holidays or events.

If you are a school staff member and would like to request that a military service member speaker contact you for the purpose of providing information about identified series topics, please use the Speaker Series request website.

Common Ground Speaker Series participants who will be interacting with students as guest speakers, mentors or recruiters must remain under the supervision of school staff at all times. West Virginia schools will be encouraged to display partner resources and information about career opportunities in schools (such as military enlistment) as approved by the local school district.

Speaker Series Partner Videos

The West Virginia National Guard, Drug Demand Reduction Program

West Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are developing important relationships with school children across the State

Watch video on Facebook

Source: West Virginia National Guard on Facebook

Wellness Wednesday

Resources for Guest Speakers

Speaker Series participants may review information about the following initiatives, which are being implemented in West Virginia schools to support students through universal prevention, targeted intervention, and intensive supports:

Leaders of Literacy

The West Virginia Common Ground Partnership’s Speaker Series provides educators with an option to request a read aloud visit from a military service member. In efforts to enhance partnerships with schools and promote literacy, we are contributing to the West Virginia Department of Education’s efforts to highlight the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Book Club and promote the Leaders of Literacy campaign. On the West Virginia Blue Ribbon Book Club’s website, visitors are provided information about the West Virginia Common Ground Partnership’s Speaker Series and a link to access the educators’ online request system.

West Virginia Blue Ribbon Book Club

The West Virginia Blue Ribbon Book Club is provided through collaboration between the West Virginia Department of Education, Marshall University’s June Harless Center, and The Dollywood Foundation. It delivers a small library of high-quality children’s books to all children in first, second, and third grades. Books are age-appropriate, engaging and mailed directly to families. The same books were also mailed to all first, second, and third grade classroom teachers so that they can be used for familiar read alouds. Military service members can read one of the Blue Ribbon Book Club titles when they visit classrooms. Educators are provided a link to Speaker Series information for the purpose of requesting read aloud visits. To find out about this special initiative, please visit

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Additionally, all 55 counties in West Virginia are fully active in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides books to children, ages birth to five. Families with children under the age of 5 may review Imagination Library registration information at


The West Virginia Public School System is on the frontline with teachers and school personnel often serving as the first responders to students who need their basic neurological, biological, psychological, and social emotional needs met. Supporting these students is a priority of our school system to ensure our children can continue to grow and thrive as they navigate the challenges they face. ReClaimWV is an initiative that seeks to advance wellness and resilience in students to equip them to become lifelong learners and achieve personal success. The ReClaimWV initiative includes a website as a comprehensive guide to the various resources which assist community leaders, educators and parents in making a positive impact on the well-being of children across the state. Be sure to review their Toolkit for connecting social-emotional and mental health supports to the opioid epidemic and access information about the wide variety of available resources that are geared toward combatting this and other issues that are negatively impacting students. Guest Speakers may access page 22, which provides evidence-based and developmentally appropriate addiction prevention strategies for working with students, according to their grade levels (ex. Pre-K and Elementary Students, Middle School Students and High School Students).


The goal of WV Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is to make schools effective and efficient and provide equitable learning environments for all students. Decreasing aggressive conduct and bullying can occur through improving culture and climate, building relationships with students and staff, changing academic outcomes and increasing prosocial behaviors.


A jointly sponsored effort of the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. “Expanded school mental health” refers to programs that build on core services typically provided by schools. ESMH is a framework that: includes the full continuum of prevention, early intervention and treatment; serves all students; and emphasizes shared responsibility between schools and community mental health providers.


Communities In Schools works inside school systems with superintendents, principals, educators, and other personnel, to forge community partnerships that bring resources into schools and help remove barriers to student learning.

WV Graduation 20/20

WV Graduation 20/20 is a West Virginia initiative to ensure all students graduate from high school with a world-class education, who are college and career-ready, with an emphasis on students with disabilities.

Safe Schools Toolkit

The West Virginia Department of Education offers a variety of resources aimed at supporting the safety and well-being of students. Visit the Safe and Supportive Schools section of the Safe Schools Toolkit website, to review information about mental health services, drug prevention, bullying prevention, suicide prevention, and other important crisis assistance services.

Recruiting Activities in Schools

When interacting with schools and students, military organizations and school districts must meet all applicable requirements enacted through law and policy including, but not limited to, the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (with subsequent amendments) and the Every Student Succeeds Act. While in schools, recruiters are to be under the supervision of school staff.

A WVDE guidance document approved on August 8, 2022, details how United States military organizations may request access to student information for the purpose of recruitment in accordance with federal laws. The guidance document also details that parents and guardians of students may submit forms to the county to opt out of having their information shared with military organizations for the purpose of recruitment.

Established protocols and recommended steps from the WVDE for school counselors and staff were developed in 2010 for creating collaborative working relationships with military personnel. As part of these protocols, school counselors initiate contact with military organizations at the beginning of each school year to discuss school interactions and facilitate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the school principal, counselor and the local recruiting commander for each individual armed forces organization.

Disclaimer: While this website is designed to provide online resources and information to students, educators, and military families about a wide variety of programs and services provided by an assortment of entities, the WVDE and Common Ground Partnership are in no way officially or implicitly endorsing any activities of these organizations and are not responsible for the content of their websites.