The Ozarks Teacher Corps was launched in 2010-11 as part of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ (CFO) Rural Schools Partnership (RSP), an initiative driven by the belief that “public education is a linchpin issue in rural economic development”. In fact, much of Rural Schools Collaborative’s programs are based on the early work of the CFO, and we wouldn’t exist without their leadership and belief in our mission.
Over a decade since its inception, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks continues to invigorate the desire to become a rural teacher. The Ozarks Teacher Corps seeks to recruit new teachers to rural school districts and offers participants $4,000 per year for up to two years. In return, the scholarship recipients commit to teach in a rural school district for three years following graduation.
As part of the CFO’s 50 year anniversary, Rural Schools Collaborative Executive Director, Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, was interviewed on the impact of the Ozarks Teacher Corps, which features Teton Science School’s place-based education as core to the programs approach:
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks Teacher Corps has not only become a local exemplar of collaboration to support rural teachers, but it is now an model that is taking off all over the nation. A 10 year survey of the Ozarks Teacher Corps showed a ~90% rural teacher retention rate, with 100% of participants recommending rural teaching as a profession. RSC and our partners set out to build on this success by growing and adapting the Ozarks Teacher Corps model across the US. With 25+ Rural Teacher Corps programs in the learning community, this model has been adapted and replicated across rural contexts to address the teacher shortage.
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks has given nearly one million dollars in scholarships toward the rural teacher pipeline. While one of the core principles taught to Ozark Teacher Corps participants is community is classroom, we thank the Community Foundation of the Ozarks for their support of rural teachers and strengthening the rural communities.
“Through all of these projects and programs, we know that our region will succeed by uniting for a mutual benefit, without sacrificing the special characteristics that define these places we call home.”
Congratulations on 50 years of incredible work in rural philanthropy!
Special thanks to our board members, current and former, who fostered this strong partnership between the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and Rural Schools Collaborative: Brian Fogle, Julie Leeth, Carol Silvey, and Gary Funk.