Appalachia has many advantages in commitment and culture that we may harness in preparing our youth for success in and outside of our communities.
Our teachers are just the people to lead this endeavor.
This project will prepare teachers to successfully leverage the ideas and enthusiasm of students, parents, guidance counselors, administrators, businesses, and teachers in rural, Appalachian communities to create college and career action plans. Acting as integral and equally important members of the school community, shareholders discuss the barriers and solutions to college and career readiness, asking the most important questions, and refining ideas until a mutually agreeable, powerful plan is created. Each plan is individual to each community, and teachers act as leaders, facilitating these sessions and tracking the success of activities. These strategies address the specific barriers facing rural Appalachian communities, as well as specific cultural challenges of poverty and gifts of place. Our department, the 21st Century Education Enterprise, has successfully launched this initiative in 8 schools and would like to expand the program to districts throughout Kentucky, as well as West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, training teachers to lead the facilitation of plans, measure their successes, modify when needed, gain outside funding, and foster sustainability so that all of our Appalachian children may use their heritage and culture as a tool to succeed.