Launching a Global Perspective

Heath area schools are three of 14 in Kentucky to receive Learn and Launch grants

Education leaders nationwide and in Kentucky stress the importance of developing students who will compete and thrive in a global setting. Thanks to competitive grants awarded this month to McCracken County Public Schools, the district is at the forefront of these initiatives.

McCracken County Public Schools is one of three districts in Kentucky to receive the Kentucky Department of Education’s Learn and Launch grants. Each Heath area school – Heath Middle School, Concord Elementary and Heath Elementary – received a $15,000 grant that will help school staff and community members implement a global competency and World Language Program. The three local schools are among only 14 schools in Kentucky chosen for the grant program.

“We will be leaders in Kentucky in providing instruction and resources to students so they have the skills to function productively in an interdependent world community,” said Superintendent Quin Sutton. “This program will help us improve as a community, and as educators, to ensure our students have more than a superficial knowledge of the international landscape.”

The grants cover a two-year period, during which the schools will access the resources of VIF International Education. The Chapel Hill, N.C.,-based company provides professional development, international networking, global education curriculum and language acquisition programs. Each school will feature a 10-member Global Competency Committee dedicated to planning during this school year a globally competent curriculum to put into place during the 2015-2016 school year. Parents, teachers from each middle school and principals will serve on this committee, which is indicative of the Learn and Launch program’s collaborative nature.

Richard Grana, President of Paducah-based export-management firm Impex, and Mary Hammond, Executive Director of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau, pledged their support during the grant application process. Both will serve on the Global Competency Committees at the schools.

Both have unique professional experiences with international connections that will help guide instruction for our students.

Grana is Vice Chair of the Kentucky District Export Council and in 2011 was elected Co-Vice Chair of the International Trade Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business Committee (ITAC 11).

“I have had a front-row seat to see the global economy at work in western Kentucky for more than 23 years,” Grana said. “It would be an important honor to help shape the education our young students receive so that they are better prepared for this global economy.”

The Paducah CVB was recently admitted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network as the seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art. One of the initiatives of UNESCO is for members to foster community awareness of the UNESCO international network and to educate locals about global connections. By agreeing to serve on the school committees, Hammond is able to help build global competency in our schools and advance a UNESCO initiative.

For more information about Learn and Launch grants in our schools, contact Adam Shull, MCPS grant writer, or Jayme Jones, MCPS public relations director. For more information about VIF International Education, visit