Catrett selected for professional learning scholarship

Published 8:58 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The Crenshaw County School system has announced that Ashley Oglesby Catrett, director of Career Technical Education (CTE) has been selected to receive a prestigious professional learning scholarship from Education First Tours (EF Tours). This scholarship will enable her to participate in the 2024 Professional Learning Tour for CTAE (Career Technical and Agricultural Education) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) leaders.

Catrett expressed her gratitude for the opportunity.

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“It is very humbling to represent Alabama and Georgia education professionals in this incredible learning experience,” Catrett said.

Catrett, a dedicated advocate for CTE and STEM initiatives within her school community, was chosen as one of approximately 30 educational leaders across Alabama and Georgia to embark on this unique professional development opportunity. The scholarship recipients were announced in late September, following a rigorous selection process by EF Tours in which scholarship recipients were selected based on their dedication to international education and commitment to creating global education programs and supporting CTE and STEM initiatives within their school communities.

Hosted by EF Educational Tours, the six-day CTE and STEM Exploration and Professional Development program will take place in the Dominican Republic. The program is designed to facilitate connections among like-minded educators, both professionally and internationally. Participants will create innovative programs upon their return to help students explore CTE and STEM fields beyond the classroom through educational travel.

As the only fully accredited international tour company, EF Tours plays a vital role in fostering global education.

During this educational tour Catrette and the other educators will be immersed into a diverse range of enriching experiences. Their journey includes visits to historically significant sites like the Catedral de Santa María la Menor, the oldest cathedral in the Americas, dating back to 1504 during the New World era. They will also explore the Ozama Fortress, a remarkable surviving section of the Walls of Santo Domingo, known as the oldest European-origin military construction in the Americas, erected between 1502 and 1508.

The educators will traverse through San Jose de Ocoa to reach the charming mountain town of Jarabacoa, nestled at an elevation of 529 meters (1,736 feet), a beloved retreat for residents of Santiago and Santo Domingo. In Jarabacoa, their itinerary includes meetings with The Association for the Development of San José de Ocoa (Adesjo), interactions with local healthcare professionals, and a tour of Escuela Forestal (The School of Forestry).

The educational odyssey will extend to San Francisco de Macoris, where they will receive a lecture on agriculture in the Dominican Republic courtesy of Rural Economic Development Dominicana (REDDOM). This leg of their journey will also feature a cacao tour within an ecological reserve and active participation in a soil analysis workshop. 

The educators will also gain firsthand insight into pineapple production during a visit to a pineapple plantation, including an opportunity to delve into the intricacies of measuring sugar content in pineapples.

Catrette and the others will also find themselves in Boca Chica, a picturesque beach town. There they will tour the facility at the Verde Profundo Foundation, a dedicated organization focused on restoring Boca Chica’s ecosystem through mangrove reforestation, and collaborate on a group project.

“Global literacy is important for our students,” Catrett said. “I hope to use this experience as a catalyst for helping our students explore similar learning opportunities”

“We are so proud of Ashley and her commitment to excellence,” said Superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools Dodd Hawthorne. “This is such an awesome opportunity for her to go beyond our borders to pursue professional growth that will in turn benefit the students of Crenshaw County Schools.”