Nov 10, 2015
As a rural educator and an advocate for rural schools across the United States & the World…I am thrilled with the things I’m seeing in our rural schools. I’ve watched educators and communities coming together to serve students and provide the best possible environments for learning in some of the most remote and isolated areas you can imagine. School districts are going above and beyond to provide High Speed Internet not just in their schools, but also in their communities. I’ve seen school buses equipped with wireless Hot Spots so students may access the internet on their often long, rural routes to and from school, then parking the buses in remote areas overnight and allowing an otherwise “disconnected” community access to this hot spot. A rural territory in Canada got so fed up with their lack of Internet Bandwidth; they set up THEIR OWN…talk about “Rural Ingenuity!”
Rural schools and businesses are partnering to form “internship-type” programs preparing students to step into skilled jobs after High School; they may not require a college degree, but they do require specialized training, and rural schools are working with businesses & providing alternative scheduling so students can receive needed courses for graduation & this training so their students can graduate and go into $30+/hour jobs vs. minimum wage jobs. This seems like “common place” to my urban/suburban counterparts…but you have to understand, this hasn’t been happening in Rural America! Often times a large employer is at least an hour away so getting something like this started is an amazing precedent for Rural American students, schools, & communities!
Much work must still be done. Until every student in every school receives an excellent education we, as educators cannot rest. Rural America currently possesses the LOWEST % of college graduates – 17% of rural adults age 25 & up. (High School Benchmarks Reports, 2013) This number must increase…it’s up to ALL OF US!
Rural schools face our own unique challenges as well as those of all schools; lagging or stagnant achievement, poverty, poor post-secondary participation: What are you trying in your rural school?
I am excited to be presenting the Rural Perspective at NASSP Ignite16 in Orlando February 26, 2016. nasspconference.org
PLEASE DON’T LET ME MISS OUT ON YOUR STORIES OF RURAL SUCCESS! Tell me the great things your schools are doing/have done: firstname.lastname@example.org