The American Federation of Teachers and other education partners are working on various aspects of instructional training, teacher evaluation systems and aligning the new Common Core State Standards to curriculum. Exciting new programs are in the planning stages for the 2013-14 school year.
Other efforts involve early childhood education programs, parenting support classes, teen pregnancy programs and a women's substance abuse treatment center.
And the United Mine Workers has been training scores of laid-off mine workers, some from McDowell County, for new careers. At least 14 are now gainfully employed.
We know there's much anticipation about the possible construction of a Teacher Village, since it would greatly enhance teacher recruitment and economic development. No one wants a Teacher Village to come to fruition more than we do.
Reconnecting McDowell is in the midst of the complicated process of securing financing, scouting the best location, and making other decisions to ensure that the housing is sustainable.
Nothing would be worse than rushing into this big investment without making sure the final recommendation is the best option for the citizens of McDowell.
Jim Redmond, a McDowell retiree and grandfather who attended a recent Reconnecting McDowell meeting, spoke emotionally of the impact - and hope - the partnership has given the children and families of the county.
He reminded us why we continue to work, collectively and tirelessly, to overcome the devastating and widespread impact of poverty.
Our intention is to continue to work closely with the community over the next few years to help create a renewed McDowell that will be a place of enduring vitality.
Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers and Gayle Manchin is chair of the Reconnecting McDowell board.