In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out an initiative to designate a number of communities as Promise Zones. These zones are identifiable as high-poverty urban, rural and tribal communities. The federal government will partner with and invest in communities to accomplish the following goals:
- Create jobs
- Leverage private investment
- Increase economic activity
- Expand educational opportunities
- Reduce violent crime
The Southeastern Kentucky Promise Zone is the first rural Promise Zone.
AmeriCorps: STEM places twenty individuals as AmeriCorps members in Madison County high schools. These individuals provide tutoring and homework assistance in Algebra. They also connect mathematics to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) career pathways.
AmeriCorps: School Turnaround
AmeriCorps: School Turnaround places sixty AmeriCorps members in three persistently low achieving high schools. Members serve for one year as:
- college advisors and
- family connectors to high school students.
Full-Service Community Schools
Full-Service Community Schools provide students in Knox County with comprehensive services and interventions including:
- service learning opportunities,
- job training and
- career counseling services.
Services provided to families of students include:
- Improving access to and use of social service programs
- Programs that promote family financial stability.
Upward Bound Math and Science
Upward Bound Math and Science provides college preparatory experiences to 50 students from 9th-12th grades with an aptitude for math and science. Services are provided to low-income, first-generation students. These services include:
- intensive academic summer programs at Berea College
- college visits
- cultural field trips
- ACT preparation
- financial aid and
- college application assistance.
Services, Training, Education and Policies to Reduce Dating Violence in Secondary Schools (STEP)
STEP supports middle and high schools with the development and implementation of:
- effective training,
- prevention strategies and
It also supports coordinated community responses for student victims of:
- sexual assault,
- domestic violence,
- dating violence and
STEP works with schools to address specific non-academic risk factors for students and to increase youth safety.
Performance Partnership Pilot (P3)
The Performance Partnership Pilot for Disconnected Youth offers a unique opportunity to test innovative, cost-effective, and outcome-focused strategies. These strategies are designed to improve results for:
- disconnected youth,
- individuals between the ages of 14 and 24 who are low income,
- unemployed and
- not enrolled or at risk of dropping out of an educational institution.
P3 will focus on providing comprehensive education and workforce services to disconnected youth who are:
- age 18–24 who are not in school or working and
- youth in high school who are at risk of dropping out.
Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI)
BCJI works to reduce crime and improve community safety. It is part of a comprehensive strategy to advance children and families within the Promise Zone. BCJI targets areas within the Promise Zone identified as hot spots of youth crime and delinquency. It employs data-driven, cross-sector strategies to reduce youth crime and delinquency within the Promise Zone.
National Endowment for the Arts Our Town
The Our Town program supports creative place-making projects. These projects help transform communities into lively and beautiful places with the arts at their core. The program will preserve the arts and cultural heritage of Appalachia. It does this by mapping assets of artists and creatives within the Promise Zone.
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
GEAR UP follows a cohort of students from sixth grade to their freshman year in college. It emphasizes college readiness through academic success and the building of a college-going culture. Services include:
- in-school tutoring
- summer academies
- career exploration
- test preparation
- college visits
- career site visits
- educator professional development
- family engagement activities.
Promise Neighborhood supports a continuum of services for youth from cradle-to-career. Promise Neighborhood partners with schools and community based organizations to provide:
- public health initiatives
- community safety programs
- educational support for all children within the Neighborhood – early childhood to age 24.
Investing in Innovation (i3)
i3 is a U.S. Department of Education research grant. It supports increased classroom rigor through teacher training and expansion of Advanced Placement enrollment. Services provided include:
- Professional development for AP and pre-AP teachers
- AP test preparation
- Academic counseling for students and financial aid and college planning for families.
Talent Search provides school-based academic counseling and career exploration activities. It focuses on college preparatory support for 800 low-income, first-generation students in grades 8-12. Services provided include:
- High-quality tutoring
- Academic, career, and financial aid counseling
- College visits
- Cultural field trips
- Career site visits
Families are central and critical to a child’s educational performance. Family Partnership at Partners for Education has a strong engagement team that provides training, support and resources to families. It accomplishes this through a suite of programs including:
- Families and Schools Together
- Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership
- Financial and Educational Asset Building Workshops
Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive (Rural IMPACT)
Rural IMPACT is a demonstration project with Knox County. It will focus on incorporating a two-generation approach to serving children and families. The goal is to reduce child poverty. The Rural IMPACT Demonstration will provide technical assistance and supports.
AmeriCorps: VISTA seeks to build the capacity of non-profit and community-based organizations in Appalachian Kentucky. Twenty-five VISTA members build capacity through:
- grant writing
- resource and partnership development
- volunteer recruitment
- marketing and communications
- program coordination
- monitoring in the areas of education and healthy futures