These Programs Develop Teacher-Leaders
The recruitment, preparation and retention of outstanding rural teacher-leaders is an essential element of the Rural Schools Collaborative's work. Rural Teacher Corps and similar models are spearheading educational innovation to meet those needs - below are several exemplary examples of such programs:
Missouri's Ozark Teacher Corps: The Ozarks Teacher Corps was established in 2010 in conjunction with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' Rural Schools Partnership. Accepted students commit to returning to their hometown or a similar rural Ozarks community to teach for at least three years. Corps members receive an annual scholarship and participate in a wide range of seminars, where they learn about a variety of rural topics. The overarching goal of the program is to develop teacher-leaders who will serve as catalysts for positive change. With a placement rate of 93%, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has been lauded nationally by media such as Education Week, Council on Foundations, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio. Read more about the Ozark Teacher Corps' place-based efforts here.
California State University Chico's RiSE Program: RiSE is a 12 to 18-month master’s degree program with a full time, yearlong teacher residency leading to California teacher certification in English, Mathematics, Science, or Special Education. The program is an outgrowth of Chico's rural Teacher Residency program, which was designed and implemented to train teachers for success in rural school districts in Northern California. Graduate coursework is combined with classroom mentors and experiences, culminating in a masters degree and credentialing to address the need for exemplary teachers in rural schools. Support, both monetary and professionally, is provided for new teachers through their first two years of teaching. Read more about RISE.
Alabama's Black Belt Teacher Corps: The University of West Alabama has launched this classroom-to-career placement program for students in its Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education. UWA’s Black Belt Teacher Corps will give teacher education majors funding for their own education and provide additional dollars to jump-start educational initiatives in the schools where they will teach. The program has been funded by the Alabama legislature.
The Black Belt Teaching Corps enrolled 10 teacher education majors as its inaugural cohort (pictured below). The students will participate in the program for two years and commit to teaching in a Black Belt community for no less than three years. Learn more about this exciting new effort, which emerged in part from a Rural Schools Collaborative planning grant.