Curriculum

District Collaboration Key to Improving Rural Opportunities, Report Says

By Jackie Mader — February 16, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Rural school districts must attempt to collaborate to mitigate rural challenges, such as high costs and shrinking educational opportunities, according to a recent report.

More than 20 percent of students in the country attend rural schools, many of which are dealing with declining budgets and enrollment numbers. Rural students are less likely to attend college and often suffer from severe teacher shortages and a lack of academically challenging course offerings like Advanced Placement and honors classes, which can help prepare students for college. A recent report found that although educational attainment levels have risen in rural areas, they still lag urban rates.

The Ohio-based nonprofit Battelle for Kids studied rural district collaborations across the country as well as academic studies to identify models for collaboration and the impact those partnerships have had. The report found that most districts that have partnered together prioritize the following strategies:


  • Sharing resources: Some district collaboratives share technology, teachers and other staff members, and programs to ensure that all students have access to more opportunity. (Nationwide, rural schools have long relied on sharing teachers and other resources to save money, especially amid budget cuts that threaten courses.)
  • Advocacy: Some rural districts that have partnered together publish press releases and policy briefs about issues that impact rural schools.
  • Curriculum design: Some districts share assessments, curriculum, and professional development opportunities to help teachers roll out state standards and connect with other educators. The Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement Network, for example, is made up of 18 rural districts in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and offers frequent virtual and in-person professional development opportunities.
  • Preparing students for college and career: Several rural districts have partnered together with foundations or nonprofits and applied for grants to expand Advanced Placement courses, help students pay for dual enrollment courses, and offer college and career counseling to students. The Ohio Appalachian Collaborative, a group of 27 rural districts, has received several federal and private grants and has nearly doubled the number of teachers certified to teach dual enrollment between 2012 and 2015.

According to the report, these district collaboratives saw a wide range of outcomes, including an increase in graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and ACT scores. Rural districts also reported an increase in collaboration between teachers and success in influencing rural education policies at the state level.

For specific examples of collaboratives, check out the full report here.

Related Tags:

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


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum What's the Best Way to Address Unfinished Learning? It's Not Remediation, Study Says
A new study suggests acceleration may be a promising strategy for addressing unfinished learning in math after a pandemic year.
5 min read
Female high school student running on the stairs leads to an opportunity to success
CreativaImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Curriculum School Halts Use of Fictional Book in Which Officer Kills a Black Child
Fifth graders in at least one Broward County school were assigned to read a book that critics say casts police officers as racist liars.
Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5 min read
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alhadeff told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she does not feel like the book "Ghost Boys" is appropriate for 5th graders.
Lynne Sladky/AP
Curriculum Opinion Introducing Primary Sources to Students
Five educators share strategies for introducing primary sources to students, including English-language learners.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Curriculum Opinion Eight Ways to Teach With Primary Sources
Four educators share ways they use primary sources with students, including a strategy called "Zoom."
13 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty