Last updated: August 12. 2014 5:43PM - 908 Views
Mindy Miller mmiller@civitasmedia.com

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HAZARD — Two Hazard Middle School teachers, Britta Danielle Coleman and Bobby Walker Bowling, have received teacher tuition scholarships from the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) Appalachian Renaissance Initiative (ARI).

According to a press release issued by KVEC last week, in January 2014, KVEC and 17 school districts in southeastern Kentucky were awarded a $30 million Race to the Top grant that spans 4 years. The US Department of Education awarded five Race to the Top grant applications with the expectation that the winners would be successful in improving personalized learning with best practices that the rest of the nation could learn from and utilize. The funding will serve 42,256 students and 2,860 educators in 100 schools in 17 school districts. The KVEC team is confident they will be successful since the award is not given because the districts are in need to become better, but they have a demonstrated track record of success.

Additionally, the news release states they have developed a comprehensive and sustainable plan to increase those successful innovations, and have the capability to share that new learning with a broad national audience.

One of ARI’s chief goals is to advance teacher and leader effectiveness. The press release further states that an ARI screening committee recently convened to review ARI Scholarship/Tuition assistance applications. Criteria included: teachers seeking certification in a high-need field or critical shortage area specific to applicant’s school/district needs; teachers seeking certification to teach dual credit classes; and National Board Certifications. Tuition scholarships will be funded fall, spring, and summer college terms throughout the duration of the grant.

Hazard’s Coleman will be seeking certification in Biology-Dual Credit, and Bowling will be pursuing studies in Health and Physical Education/Special Needs-Dual Credit.

“We are thrilled that, through teacher tuition assistance, ARI is providing classroom teachers with the support they need to continue their own learning while earning a certification in a critical shortage content area,” said Abbie Combs, ARI’s Educator Effectiveness Lead.

Combs continued, “This is a win-win for teachers and students and an investment into the future of our region.”

Coleman praised ARI, saying it’s going to be very beneficial to the school district, staff, and students.

“I am very honored and thankful to have received the ARI tuition scholarship … to further my career in secondary biology,” Coleman said. “It is important for teachers to keep learning, so that we can better enhance the minds of our students.”

Recipient Bowling said that the ARI tuition scholarship will help him further his education.

“Receiving this scholarship will allow me to obtain my rank 1 in special education - learning and behavior disorders K-12,” Bowling said. “When you work for a small district, you need to wear as many hats as possible, and ARI is allowing education all across Eastern Kentucky the opportunity to do just that.”

Mindy Miller can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.

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