U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visited eastern Kentucky on Jan. 19 to tout career-oriented classrooms and a series of grants that helped make them possible.
The main purpose of the trip was discussing recent grants the area received from the Promise Neighborhoods and Project Prevent programs to help reduce community violence and promote cradle-to-career efforts in low-income areas.
“What I saw here today is an example that I want to spread across the country: how to use resources; how to come together,” Cardona said.
Partners for Rural Impact received $8 million in Promise Neighborhoods grant money to help improve education. Two school districts received money from the Project Prevent grants: Allen County Schools received $800,000 and the Jefferson County Board of Education received $588,802.
One of Cardona’s stops was to Perry County High School, one of the schools supported by Partners for Rural Impact, where Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass joined him to tour classes as they discussed virtual-reality learning, health care education, the U.S. Army JROTC program and more.
Glass called it a “delight” to host Cardona.
“To hear them lift up and be supportive of the work that’s here and think about how that can be replicated in other parts of rural Kentucky and across the country, that’s exciting,” Glass said.
Cardona spoke to several students to get their thoughts on how Kentucky schools are preparing them for their future careers. His visit culminated with a roundtable discussion with parents and educators about programs that help prepare students early for their careers.
“That feeling that my kids are good, my kids are cared for, that was present in the classrooms and in the conversations with parents,” Cardona said. “Every parent wants the best for their child, and when the community comes together like they have here in Hazard, that’s possible.”
Cardona also visited Roy G. Eversole Elementary School (Hazard Independent) with Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman to tour the early childhood education center and speak with parents. Geoffrey Canada, president of Harlem Children’s Zone and the inspiration for the Promise Neighborhoods grant program, also was part of the trip.