MSU Education Students to help Bath County Middle School Students Develop Genius Hour Projects

Morehead State University students enrolled in the required education class, Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas, will help students at Bath County Middle School develop pitches for their Genius Hour projects.

The students are each developing projects as part of the LRNG Innovators Challenge grant awarded to Bath County Middle School and the Morehead Writing Project to transform the school into a makerspace. The grant, Making A Future for All: Connecting Passion To Profession, offers Bath County Middle School students the opportunity to design, develop, and create passion projects to be showcased at the end of the school year.

The middle school students have been engaged in exploration and experimentation with technology and resources funded by the grant ranging from a green screen to robotic kits. They have had the opportunity to participate in a Why Learn? Summit that allowed students to learn more about a variety of professions as well as the soft skills that interest employers.

However, the time for exploration is over and students are ready to pitch their projects to their peers and teachers and Morehead Writing Project Site Leader Dr. Deanna Mascle will bring her teacher candidates to Owingsville to help the middle schoolers prepare their pitches and later develop the approved projects.

“This is a perfect match. My students are expected to learn more about all the elements of literacy including reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and those are precisely the areas where the Bath County students will need support as they pitch and create their projects,” Mascle said. “My students are preparing to teach in a variety of disciplines and I can’t think of another opportunity that would offer such a breadth and depth of field experience.”

The LRNG Innovators Challenge is only awarded to 10 applicants following a highly competitive national grant application process. With support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John Legend’s Show Me Campaign, and the National Writing Project (NWP), grantees were selected based on their proposal’s potential to actively help youth discover interests connecting the spheres of their lives, both in and out of school, and provide for potential future opportunities.

When announcing the winners, singer/songwriter and co-founder John Legend said, “Passionate and innovative teachers changed my life and instilled in me a lifelong passion for education and learning. I’m inspired by the dedication of the teachers and the breadth of the projects we’ve selected to receive this year’s grants.”

The LRNG Innovators challenge is grounded in the idea that young people benefit from opportunities to follow their interests with the support of peers and mentors who give them the time and space to create work that is meaningful to them. LRNG Innovators grantees benefit from co-founder NWP’s deep experience supporting teacher leadership through local and national networks.

“Every day, teachers think through how they can build on and direct students’ interests toward more powerful learning,” stated Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, NWP executive director. “The LRNG Innovators Challenge allows us to invest directly in teachers who can develop promising approaches that can be spread across the country.”

The LRNG Innovators challenge is designed to create support systems that empower teachers to redesign learning. It exists alongside the LRNG platform, which connects youth interests to digital experiences and learning opportunities in their own cities. Powered by Collective Shift, the LRNG platform will include Innovators programs, adapted into digital playlists, that teachers, practitioners, and organizations can then adopt for use in their own communities.