News Roundup: Rural Online, Reconnecting McDowell, Ed. Leaders

By Diette Courrégé Casey — June 20, 2012 2 min read
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Here’s a round-up of some rural news worth reading:

New Online Community Launched For Rural Educators
Rural educators looking to connect with one another can do so through a new online community created by the White House Rural Council.

The new group is designed to enable educators to tap into people and resources both inside and outside of schools. Rural educators can join by going here and creating an account.

“The Department is turning to technology because it breaks down geographic barriers and addresses rural isolation in education,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in an online message about the new site. “Opportunities for using the Internet as a bridge to overcome geography and bring new opportunities to rural areas will continue to increase.”

Duncan also has posted a three-minute video message with directions on how to use the site.
Reconnecting McDowell Makes Down Payment on Teacher Village
The American Federation of Teachers-led effort to turn around a rural West Virginia school district has made a down payment on a building that soon will be a “teacher village,” according to recent media reports.

Housing, especially for teachers, is among the most critical issues for this high-poverty community, and a five-story former furniture store and warehouse will be converted into at least 20 apartments to address that issue, according to a story in the Charleston Daily Mail, in Charleston, W.Va. It also will have TV lounges, exercise rooms, a restaurant, and group work areas.

Janet Bass is deputy director of public affairs for the AFT, a Washington, D.C.,-based group with 1.5 million members nationally. She said in an e-mail that this initiative was in the early planning phases, and she wasn’t ready to talk about it until more work had been completed.

But Bob Brown, who heads the West Virginia affiliate of the AFT and has been coordinating the project, told the state Board of Education last week about it, according to the Charleston Daily Mail article.Reconnecting McDowell is a collaboration of public and private partners hoping to change the status quo in McDowell County within the next five years. The initiative has received national attention because it’s the first of its kind, and we’ve been chronicling its progress since launching in December.

Education Week Solicits Nominations for Outstanding Leaders
One of my EdWeek colleagues is working on a great new project, and she needs your help. Christina Samuels is soliciting nominations from readers for a special section, “Leaders to Learn From,” that will run in February 2013.

Check out the District Dossier blog for more information on how to nominate superintendents to be profiled.

We made a similar request last year and heard from a few of you. We featured one of your nominees, Dennis Stockdale, on the blog. We hope to see more rural educators nominated this year!

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.