With the reality that education does not begin and end at the K-12 classroom door, more than 100 leaders from the Appalachian counties served by two educational service centers met to launch an AOP-20 Council on September 19, 2014, at Paul R. Brown Hall (Zane State College) in Cambridge. Cosponsored by MVESC, Ohio Valley ESC, and Zane State College, the kick-off meeting was funded by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

David N. Branch and Chris Keylor, Muskingum Valley ESC and Ohio Valley ESC Superintendents, respectively, facilitated the morning’s activities that included an education and business panel. Matt Hilverding shared his company’s success story with the group and said, “when government, education, and industry work together, we can create great opportunities so our kids will stay here!” Pioneer Pipe is an example of business, industry, and schools working side-by-side.

The featured speaker, Dr. Paul Brown, president of Zane State College, commented on the value we all play in positioning our communities for growth and success in his remarks, the High Tech Corridor. Zane State has been a driving force serving the communities in southeast Ohio. Dr. Brown said, “From the college perspective, it’s ideas like this that get me up in the morning!”

Discussions held during lunch were enlightening as small groups shared their vision and values for the communities in which they reside. Joy Padgett, Governor’s Office for Appalachia, and Dr. Barbara Hansen, Muskingum University, facilitated the small group discussion. Participants mentioned the themes of collaboration, leadership, and creativity as being critical to the advancement of the P-20 Council.

Establishing a P-20 Council in these nine counties will provide opportunities to explore issues around early child development, parent/student engagement, and college/career readiness.

Some Resources from the Meetings:
Coad4Kids – A site that will provide you a tremendous amount of data on preschool/early childhood for SE Ohio.

Please plan to join us on Friday, April 10, 2015, at the Paul R. Brown Hall in Cambridge for continued discussion and planning. Topics will include more on what is needed for high school graduation, a panel discussion, and small group planning.

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