Educators from 22 eastern Kentucky school districts have kicked off an education initiative aimed at building a STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by creating new opportunities for teachers through National Board Certification.

They were joined by Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers, co-chairmen of SOAR – Shaping Our Appalachian Region, in a ceremony July 20 at Clay County High School in Manchester.

Morehead State University has partnered with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Council on Postsecondary Education, the University of Pikeville, the Department for Local Government and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to provide 64 teachers in 22 of the highest unemployment, highest poverty SOAR counties with National Board teaching certification. The selected teachers started the three-year program earlier this month.

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