Published Online: September 10, 1997

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Rural Education

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Relatives of a former U.S. vice president have pledged $300,000 to support a biennial conference on gifted students in rural schools.

The pledge comes from H.B. and Jocelyn Wallace of Scottsdale, Ariz., and their children. Mr. Wallace is the son of Henry A. Wallace, an Iowan who was U.S. secretary of agriculture from 1933 to 1941 before serving as vice president during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term.

The Wallaces' gift will go to the University of Iowa Foundation for the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Center officials already have begun planning for the first conference in 1999. The event is expected to draw hundreds of researchers and educators to discuss how rural schools work to meet the needs of gifted and talented students.

"Rural gifted students are the most invisible in terms of access to gifted and talented programs," said Nicholas Colangelo, the center's director.

More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the 70th National Future Farmers of America Convention in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 13-15. This year's theme, ''Building the Future," will be reflected in expanded award categories in science, business, and technology.

"Competitive events are responding to what's being offered in classrooms, which is responding to the broadening needs in agriculture," said William F. Stagg, the spokesman for the FFA. Scheduled speakers include agricultural futurist Lowell Catlett and former Miss America Heather Whitestone-McCallum.

The FFA convention, held in Kansas City since the group was founded there in 1928, will move to a bigger center in Louisville, Ky., in 1999.

To preregister by Oct. 31, call Scott Stump at (703) 360-3600, ext. 250.

The Organization Concerned about Rural Education, or OCRE, has received a $6,500 grant from the National Science Foundation to identify exemplary programs that use technology to teach science and math.

Located in Washington, OCRE is a coalition of public and private groups that promotes rural education. The group is seeking proven and innovative programs that are tied to curriculum, community based, and able to be replicated in rural areas.

OCRE hopes to have the research ready for dissemination in January. Call Lauren A. Williams at (410) 573-3820 for more information.

--ROBERT C. JOHNSTON rjohns@epe.org

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