Special to the Daily News
The EQT Corporation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the University of Kentucky College of Education to propel new innovations in education in Eastern Kentucky.
The grant, presented formally at the Central Office of Pike County Schools, will target public school districts in Pike, Floyd, Letcher, Perry and Knott Counties, as well as Jenkins Independent.
Awarded through the EQT Foundation, the grant will allow school leaders to take part in the Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab’s Next General Leadership Academy, a unique collaboration between the UK College of Education and school superintendents and principals to enhance their school systems. The funding will be matched by a James Graham Brown Foundation Grant that helped establish the P20 Lab’s Next Generation Leadership Academy.
“EQT is committed to contributing to the social and economic vitality of the regions where our employees live and work,” said Charlene Petrelli, President of EQT Foundation.
The Next Generation Leadership Academy is a yearlong professional development program, which began its first Cohort in 2011-2012 with 60 school leaders representing all regions of the state. Through the academy, UK faculty, regional university partners and state and national leaders work together to design and build new systems for learning. Now in Cohort 2, more than 120 leaders representing 30 school districts have participated in the Leadership Academy.
Maverick Bentley, EQT Director of Midstream Operations for Kentucky Regional Headquarters, was on hand to present the check to UK and area school officials.
“Our motto is ‘Where energy meets innovation,’” Bentley said. “This is also innovation at work on the education side.”
Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford praised the company for putting funds in their budget every year to enhance the community.
Mary John O’Hair, Dean of the UK College of Education said students must not only be educated for today’s jobs, but also must “be prepared to create the jobs of the future.” She said the program was a way for UK to connect “the research to everyday practice, to connect us with our p-12 community.”
Jenkins Independent Superintendent Debbie Watts spoke of programs enacted in her district to enhance the education of their students. She said the district: bears the costs of busing students to UPike for dual credit classes; implemented project-based learning; holds after-school tutoring; has a built-in extra math class; has standards-based grading; and works on a combination of college-career based curriculum.
“We want the best workforce in this organization and that begins with education,” Bentley said.