We are very happy to announce a new partnership with Morehead State University (MSU) in Morehead, Kentucky! Working in collaboration with the National Rural Education Association, the Morehead State University- Ernst & Sara Volgenau College of Education will anchor our new Appalachian Hub. In addition to supporting the mission of the Rural Schools Collaborative, the Appalachian Hub will celebrate the stories and uplift the dreams of rural schools and teachers from the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.
We were pleased to have the opportunity to visit with several representatives from the Ernst & Sara Volgenau College of Education about the establishment of the Appalachian Hub.
Antony D. Norman is new to the job as Dean at the Morehead State Ernst & Sara Volgenau College of Education. But, from what he’s seen in the few months he’s been there, the University's teacher education program is an integral ally to the surrounding region.
In fact, Morehead State University's work in preparing teachers to serve the region is historic. The University got its start as a normal school, or an institute began exclusively to train educators. For this reason, Norman sees education as the “heartbeat of Morehead.” And as he’s seen and heard from colleagues and community members, “our rural educators and rural schools continue to be a central mission of the university.”
One program that exemplifies the strong work of the MSU Ernst & Sara Volgenau College of Education is the MSUTeach program. This program offers the opportunity for STEM students to receive a teaching certification along with their Bachelor of Science degree. As Norman points out, the benefits of this program can have a large impact.
“Since most of our students are from Eastern Kentucky and the region, every math and science teacher we create is a real strong possibility that we’re impacting right back into those communities we want to serve.”
“Our rural educators and rural schools continue to be a central mission of the university.”
Looking forward, Norman is excited for the new thoughts that can be spurred from the Rural Schools Collaborative partnership.
“This collaborative in particular is giving us some really concrete examples and models. As we look at other models, we can start to find markers of success that go beyond meeting accreditation and state standards. We can start to say, here are four or five skills, values, beliefs that we want to instill in our students that would make them, beyond just good rural educators, but the best of the best.”
Shane Shope, an Associate professor in the Education Leadership Program at the MSU College of Education, also sees possibilities for reflection to occur with the Hub partnership.
“It helps us to do some introspection about our own program and look for ways to connect some ideas. With higher education and K12, sometimes there’s a disconnect, but I think this is a great opportunity to make a connection there that is worthwhile, and bring that expertise that we have in the university out in the classroom.”
On our end, we are also greatly looking forward to this collaboration, and we’ll end with a note from board chair, Carol Silvey:
“I want to thank the folks at Morehead State University for serving as our new Appalachian Hub anchor, and we look forward to serving rural school communities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. In addition, we appreciate the support of the National Rural Education Association in making this partnership possible. Since the NREA is based out of Chattanooga, TN, we will have some excellent ready made connections in the Appalachian region.”
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