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Members of the Ozarks Teacher Corps attended their fall meeting in Aurora, Missouri. They are pictured here with a mural that was a project of the Placeworks Program, a RSC partner program that brings artists in residence to rural schools in the Ozarks.

Our Stories

We are proud to announce our Missouri Ozarks Hub!

Springfield, Missouri

November 02, 2017

The Rural Schools Collaborative and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' Rural Schools Partnership are excited to continue their work together as a hub for rural education advocacy and collaboration. The hub was announced and celebrated at a reception held on October 25 at a new cooperative rural education office in Springfield. The office was made possible with support from Glenstone Square's Big Idea Program, and Dr. Julie Leeth, Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) rural education liaison, will coordinate activities from this location. Leeth is also on the Rural Schools Collaborative board of directors and serves as the organization's treasurer. Leeth is also the former executive vice president for CFO.

CFO's Rural Schools Partnership was established in 2009, and it serves more than 50 counties in Missouri's southern tier. The success of this effort led to the establishment of the multi-state Rural Schools Collaborative, which is largely modeled after the CFO program. The Rural Schools Partnership is based on the premise that public education is a rural economic linchpin, and the effort has been recognized frequently at the national level as a rural innovation vehicle.

The Rural Schools Partnership includes the following exemplary efforts, which are key elements of the Rural Schools Collaborative conversation on how to strengthen the bonds between rural schools and their respective communities:

  1. Ozarks Teacher Corps
    An endowed effort that supports the development of teacher-leaders for rural Ozarks school districts. Working with Missouri State University, Drury University and Evangel University, the Ozarks Teacher Corps has a placement/retention rate of 93%.
  2. Coover Regional Place-based Grants Program
    Since its inception this effort has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to exemplary place-based education efforts throughout the region. This is the flagship program of the Rural Schools Collaborative's Grants in Place program.
  3. School Foundation Building
    The Rural Schools Partnership works with more than 70 rural school foundations and has created more than $27 million in permanent rural education assets.

"There would be no Rural Schools Collaborative without Julie Leeth, the Rural Schools Partnership and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks," said Rural Schools Collaborative director, Gary Funk. "Their willingness to freely share their ideas and successes have meant so much to other organizations and efforts across the nation."

For more information on the Rural Schools Partnership or the work of the collaborative hub, please contact Julie Leeth at jleeth@cfozarks.org.

Pictured below at the October 25 reception in Springfield, Missouri's Glenstone Square: (left to right) Dr. Julie Leeth; Dr. Chris Craig, associate provost, Missouri State University and RSC Advocate; Glenstone Square's Big Idea's Fran and Jack Hood; David Ardrey, RSC board member and executive director of the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, and Renee Carr, RSC board member and chief financial office for Arkansas' Rural Community Alliance.


Find out more about the Rural Schools Collaborative's action-oriented hub system.

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