Many aspects of the world we live in are constantly evolving and changing. Because of this, it is imperative for P-12 schools to have the resources they need and for teachers to have the skills required to confidently prepare students to further their education and send them out into society primed to attain success.
The combination of addressing the needs for professional development and resources for educators in Morehead State University’s service region is what eventually gave birth to the University’s 21st Century Education Enterprise.
The 21st Century Education Enterprise, a Kentucky Partnership Academy, is a not-for-profit organization within the College of Education created to promote community partnerships by bringing educational leadership, professional development and technological innovations to Kentucky schools.
Originally proposed by Dr. Cathy Gunn, former dean of the MSU College of Education, it initially was a professional development center that identified professional development needs and gave MSU faculty the opportunity to connect with P-12 schools and address specific issues. It later took on the task of writing grant proposals to provide resources to support teachers to help address a school district’s unique circumstances.
“We don’t have anything that’s a boxed set,” said Krista Barton, director of the 21st Century Education Enterprise. “It’s all individualized.”
Barton said in addition to MSU faculty, those involved in the Enterprise include professional development associates, experts on specific grants, outside consultants and retired teachers, but that almost everyone with the Enterprise has one thing in common.
“All of us are former classroom teachers ourselves, so we know what it’s like to be in the classroom. We know the resources we didn’t have and we know the professional development we didn’t have,” Barton said. “The only PD (professional development) we want teachers to sit through is the kind that I would want to sit through.”
Some of the Enterprise’s most notable accomplishments since its inception involve introducing new technologies into Eastern Kentucky classrooms.
The Space Movie Project, a collaboration with Dataseam and the MSU Space Science Center, used desktop movie-making and state-of-the-art space research tools to give middle school and high school students the opportunity to work with science education professors, space science engineers and educational technology specialists to create documentaries on space science topics. The Enterprise’s iPad 1:1 Initiative provided Mason County High School with ongoing, embedded professional development on how to integrate the technology into their curriculum.
Barton said the Enterprise’s many initiatives, workshops and grants have shown the effectiveness of what it has to offer educators and students and it is reflected in their enthusiasm.
“We have teachers that tell us, anything that the Enterprise does, I’m going to sign up for it,” Barton said. “They come back for every single thing that we do because it’s going to make a difference in their teaching.”
The 21st Century Education Enterprise has changed drastically over the years, and Barton only sees its impact having a further reach in the future.
“We could grow and reach even more teachers. We have teachers contacting us from outside our service region. We go outside of our service region because the need is there,” Barton said. “We have something that’s really working, so the sky’s kind of the limit for us.”
For more information on the 21st Century Education Enterprise, call 606-783-2859, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.moreheadstate.edu/education enterprise.