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MSU College of Education forms productive partnerships during COVID-19

Rachel Horn PictureMorehead State University has its roots and an esteemed reputation in graduating educators with both the knowledge and experience to go on to impact generations of students in its service region and beyond. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSU’s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education and area school districts have built beneficial partnerships to allow MSU students to get the essential field experience they need to be successful in their classrooms.  

One of MSU’s newest partnerships was established in Lawrence County as a direct result of the pandemic. Tammy Martin, instructor of education who teaches at the Prestonsburg and Ashland campuses, searched for a school system willing to mentor MSU field experience students. While Lawrence County teachers mentored MSU student-teachers in the past, the school district never hosted MSU students for field placements due to the required student travel. The school district, located between the Prestonsburg and Ashland campuses, jumped in to create a unique school-university partnership.  

Martin reconnected with Cassandra Webb, a friend who is the Lawrence County chief academic officer. Shortly afterward, Webb paired 23 MSU students with mentor teachers from Lawrence County’s three elementary schools in Blaine, Fallsburg and Louisa.  

“Given this difficult time for our teachers, parents and families, it is so exciting to enter a positive partnership between Lawrence County Schools and MSU in the field of education,” Webb said. “We look forward to all the possibilities ahead, including the model reading lab project to grow our future workforce while raising student achievement.”  

Lawrence County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robbie Fletcher (96, 13) has always supported the Volgenau College of Education and welcomed MSU students into his district. When the county classrooms opened into a Google Classroom virtual environment, the technology was reworked to allow MSU students to enter. As teachers in the districts returned to the physical classroom, Fletcher invited MSU students to join. Although the Volgenau College of Education expects students to be physically distanced from school classrooms this fall, candidates use Zoom to continue interacting with the school while creating math and science lessons to share with their classrooms.  

MSU education student Rachel Horn, who helped make the district’s initial contact, shared her feelings about her experience this fall.  

“I have had the opportunity to work with April Sammons. She has been absolutely amazing,” she said. “She goes above and beyond for her students and has done the same for me. Throughout all the technological struggles, she has kept trying until we were able to get it worked out. I am so thankful to be mentored by her.”  

“On-the-job training provides the best opportunity to have a prepared workforce. As practicing educators, we have a moral imperative to prepare aspiring educators by providing field experiences for in-person and virtual classrooms,” Fletcher added. “We are pleased to have this partnership with Morehead State University so we can do our part in preparing the future educational workforce. Also, this partnership will focus on the high quality of instruction that can be found in Lawrence County, particularly in the model reading lab settings. Most importantly, this partnership shows the commitment that we have for continuous improvement for the students of not only Lawrence County, but also the Commonwealth.”  

For more information about MSU’s Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit

Morehead State University’s Volgenau College of Education offers a reduced tuition rate to all Kentucky schoolteachers and other educators enrolled in courses within our College of Education. For more details on the reduced tuition offer, visit    

Photo: Rachel Horn, Morehead State education student, is one of many students benefitting from partnerships with MSU's Volgenau College of Education and area school districts.