RTC Network: Exemplary Efforts

RTC Network: Exemplary Efforts

The recruitment, preparation and retention of outstanding rural teacher-leaders is an essential element of our work. These RTC Network programs are spearheading educational innovation to meet those needs. We are honored to support and share the work of these important efforts. Pictured above: The University of West Alabama inaugural Black Belt Teacher Corps Class of 2018.

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. The Ozarks Teacher Corps is an important component of RSC's Missouri Ozarks Hub.

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. Chico State is a key partner in our North California Hub.

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 gives teacher education majors funding for their own education and provides additional dollars to jump-start educational initiatives in the schools where they will teach. The program has been funded by the Alabama legislature.

Students 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. UWA is the host partner of our Alabama Hub.

Graham Local Schools, Ohio Hi Point, & Urbana University Career Partnership Program for future teachers
In 2017-18, Graham Local Schools, Urbana University, and Ohio Hi Point together created a program to allow students within the district who are interested in pursuing a career in education with the opportunity to earn credit from Urbana University. The tailored credit program helps enthusiastic students on their path to becoming a teacher. Students can then pursue a teacher-education degree at Urbana University, located just a dozen miles from Graham Local Schools. Hopefully, some of these students will return to Graham or other local districts in the region to bring their teaching talents back to Ohio's rural places. This effort in a key program in our Ohio Hub.

Great River Teacher Corps: The Great River Teacher Corps (GRTC) program was launched by Western Illinois University. The GRTC recruits and develops highly talented teachers to work in schools in West Central Illinois. In alignment with Western Illinois University’s mission, the Great River Teacher Corps is grounded in a regional perspective. The teacher shortage in the state of Illinois is most profound in central Illinois rural school districts. The GRTC is a student-centered undergraduate program with a service component where participants are required to participate in value-added placed based learning activities that will focus on issues in rural schools. Administrators of the GRTC program have created partnerships with ROE’s, district superintendents, and local communities in 22 counties to ensure their participation in both recommendation of applicants and the hiring of GRTC graduates. This project received a modest capacity building grant from our Western Illinois Hub anchor, the Galesburg Community Foundation.

Stay tuned for information on new initiatives at Eastern Illinois University and Monmouth College, as well as an exciting planning grant anchored by Southern Illinois University and the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools. (Pictured below: Ozarks Teacher Corps members)