Murray State University receives $130,000 grant to promote career and technical education

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The College of Education and Human Services at Murray State University was recently awarded a $130,000 grant for a project entitled “Mathematics in the Context of Career and Technical Education.”

These funds are provided by Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education and made possible by the U. S. Department of Education’s “Improving Teacher Quality Grant,” issued under the authority of Title II, Part A of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Dr. Kemaly Parr, director of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at Murray State, played a pivotal role in securing this grant through a process that began in September 2016. This particular academic program provides students the opportunity to pursue careers in business and marketing education, family and consumer sciences, and engineering and technology education.

Dr. Kemaly Parr

Parr has spent her time at Murray State developing a strong network of CTE educators in the region, including those at partner school districts, those at career and area technical centers and faculty within other colleges and schools at the University. These connections help to bring a wealth of invaluable experience and knowledge to the University’s CTE program and will be key in satisfying the objectives of this project.

“The goal of the approved project proposal involves building teams among CTE welding and machine tool teachers and mathematics teachers,” Parr explained.

Those teams will then translate into an increased ability to facilitate math instruction for students through a meaningful context while providing secondary students the chance to receive dual credit for secondary and college coursework through collaboration with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).

This project is directly in line with the philosophy of meaningful math instruction promoted by Ms. Cindy Kramer, a mathematics expert from the Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology. The project also has the full commitment of Dr. Brian Parr from the Hutson School of Agriculture, who is not only a technical and math-in-CTE expert but also has served as the lead facilitator for the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, implementing similar professional development activities in five states over the past twelve years.

Representing the West Kentucky Community and Technical College is Ms. Lorry Beth Wilson, who is a specialist in dual-credit experiences and is a former secondary CTE teacher. The initial partner for secondary CTE is Mr. Larry Garrity, who serves as principal of the Webster County Area Technical Center.

“Garrity is fully supportive of this project and has served as a partner with Murray State in other initiatives,” stated Parr. “Additional participants, including 36 teachers and over 500 students, will be solicited from all 18 western Kentucky school districts.”

Project goals will be accomplished through ten days of professional development for math and CTE teacher teams and sustained contact between teachers, investigators and educational specialists during the 2017-18 academic year. Project-related activities will be conducted by faculty members from Murray State University in conjunction with the assistance of consultants from the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education.

Results of these efforts will include a set of lesson plans designed to emphasize the mathematics essential to the CTE curriculum and provide an effective means of delivery. This project will empower mathematics teachers by providing a context for application of mathematical principles already available through the CTE departments on their respective school campuses. Further, this project will test the idea that significant gains in mathematical achievement can be attained by students who participate in a contextualized, mathematics-enhanced CTE curriculum.

To learn more about this initiative and the CTE program at Murray State, please contact Dr. Kemaly Parr at kparr@murraystate.edu or 270-809-2854.

Murray State University provides an “Opportunity Afforded” for more than 10,000 students through a high-quality education with experiential learning, academic and personal growth and the ability to secure a lifetime of success. The University’s main campus is located in Murray, Ky. and includes five regional campuses. For more information on Murray State University, please visit murraystate.edu.

From MSU Communications

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