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P-20 Educational Innovation Center Kick-Off Deemed Success 


P-20 workshop photo

JONESBORO – A group of 35 professional educators gathered Saturday, Jan. 12, to discuss next steps leading to the creation of a P-20 Educational Innovation Center at Arkansas State University.  P-20 refers to all levels of education, pre-school through university.

Meeting in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, group members worked on developing advanced collaborations between A-State, P-12 schools, and the community.  Topics included innovative teaching, STEAM initiatives, and best teaching practices to enhance education in the region.

"In-depth discussions allowed teachers and administrators from various school districts, as well as A-State faculty members, to share their vision for the future of the P-20 Educational Innovation Center," explained Dr. Ruth Owens, associate professor of Spanish, Faculty Fellow for teaching and learning, and member of the P-20 planning committee.  "They also were able to make some concrete plans for the next steps in the center's development. It was incredibly inspiring to hear about the ideas and ongoing work of so many professional educators, and to feel the enthusiasm they bring with them to the table."

The initiative has already attracted an energetic group of people who are eager to get involved, with many already collaborating with educators at other institutions. The center's goal is to encourage that response more often, across a broader range of schools and levels of education.

Dr. Gina Hogue, associate professor of history, associate dean of Liberal Arts and Communication, and another member of the planning committee, also called the kick-off event a huge success.

"This is a wonderful time to be in education because there seems to be a strong desire among many educators to support each other as they develop innovative approaches to student learning," she said.  "The P-20 Educational Innovation Center hopes to encourage innovative teaching that inspires learning and fosters creativity in classrooms all across the Arkansas Delta.  I think that many new P-20 collaborations will come from the event."

Owens echoed the importance of preparing for the changing environment.

"All of us need to work together to prepare the next generation for the rapidly changing world in which they will live and work," she added.  "We need to think in terms of innovation. Our goal is to create a community of educators in this region who advocate for and practice collaborative and interdisciplinary teaching practices to engage learners. This center will enable those who would like to collaborate on a project or initiative to find others who would like to be involved, and will give our efforts a name and central focus."

Hogue also put the day's outcomes into a historical perspective.

"Creating a P-20 Educational Innovation Center has been a dream for many of us at A-State.  We recognize that significant components of a P-20 Center have been in place for many years, but to finally have a center that seeks to recognize and acknowledge all of the great work that has been accomplished by A-State in partnership with area schools is inspiring and helps us to imagine an even brighter future for P-20 collaborations in the Arkansas Delta.

"By organizing formal working committees we hope that P-20 partnerships can be strengthened and sustained over many years to come," she added.  "Most importantly, we hope that ongoing discussions between teachers and faculty will lead to new P-20 educational innovations and collaborative projects between A-State and schools in the Arkansas Delta, and these will prepare the next generation for successful careers and fulfilled lives."

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