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Military and Educators Working Together to Help High School Students
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on March 29, 2013 @ 8:32PM
Created on March 29, 2013 @ 5:58PM
The WV State Department of Education, the military and other groups are all part of the common ground initiative. In 2011, they came up with a memorandum of understanding that would put the military into schools to help students come up with a plan. On Friday, members of the groups met up in Harrison County to update their original MOU.
Deciding what you want to do when you become an adult can be hard. That's why educators and the military are working together to make sure all Mountain State students have a post-graduation plan.
"We know that a high school diploma now is not enough in order to create a successful future. It's just a step in creating that successful future," said Shelly DeBerry, Student Success Advocate Coordinator, West Virginia Department of Education.
Therefore, the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Armed Forces and a few other groups are working on their updated common ground plans.
"The underlying goal of common ground is to improve the graduation rate in West Virginia," said Colonel James Runyon, Chief of Joint Staff, WV National Guard.
Some say the way to do that is having access to middle and high school students. One roadblock they notice is that when military recruiters head to schools, most schools think it's simply for recruiting.
"That's not the goal of this event, to recruit. The goal is to get kids to graduate high school," said Captain Spencer Phillips, Commander, Charleston Army Recruiting Center.
In fact, a lot of the military members entering schools here are trained to look at interests and review aptitude tests before talking to students about a variety of careers.
"What can we do to help them get where they need to be?"  said Captain Phillips.
They've been doing that through career counseling, financial management and mentoring programs.
"These are our communities. These are our schools. These are West Virginia sons and daughters and we have an obligation to them to  help them be successful going into the future," said Colonel Runyon.
The group hopes to have their updated plans finalized by August 1.

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