CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) commemorated Pearl Harbor Day by hosting members of the West Virginia Common Ground Partnership for its 2021 compact re-signing at the State Capitol Complex.

The Common Ground Partnership is a collaboration of organizations that focuses on increasing the capacity of schools to ensure success among all students. By connecting West Virginia schools with each organization and its resources, students will become aware of opportunities to serve as leaders within their communities and experience positive outcomes throughout their lives.

Partnering organizations provide online resources and guest speakers to schools that address a variety of important topics including substance abuse prevention, the importance of staying in school and career exploration. Together, the Common Ground Partnership and West Virginia schools maximize the prospects that students will become well-educated and develop into college- and career-ready citizens.

Additionally, a new program was unveiled during the ceremony – the Purple Star Award. Purple Star Award recipients are schools and districts that have committed to providing dedicated support and services to students of military families. The Purple Star Award recognizes schools which make a focused commitment to meet the needs of military-connected children by identifying a trained military family point of contact, linking to resources on their homepage, completing a minimum of two military support activities and submitting a localized plan of action. Their commitment provides a foundation for students of military families to develop productive, academic lives and to be a part of a supportive community.

One-hundred-thirty (130) schools earned this distinction, and Brooke, Kanawha and Pocahontas counties were honored for having 100% participation amongst all their schools. The WVDE provided all members of the inaugural class with banners to recognize their commitment.

Students with family members in the military may experience unique circumstances and stressors due to the unpredictable nature of military deployments. Schools with caring staff members make a difference for those students during times when soldiers are called to relocate. Proactive communication between schools and families can also help avoid social-emotional problems and negative behaviors. The Common Ground Partnership recognizes the importance of schools supporting students and ensuring they are aware of the exceptional resources available to receive a high-quality education.

“The West Virginia Board of Education and Department of Education are so proud to be partners in this agreement to support our students and military families,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “This is a critical time to reinforce our social-emotional supports in our schools. With these resources and caring adults in the lives of students, we are ensuring there is consistent involvement in our children’s lives and in our school communities.”

In addition to State Superintendent Burch representing the WVDE, the Common Ground compact was signed by representatives from the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE), and numerous military and civil service organizations.

To learn more about the Common Ground Partnership or to view a full list of Purple Star Award recipients, please visit the Common Ground website at

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or

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