For all the needs that rural-focused organizations, and especially those working in rural education, fulfill in countless communities daily, sustaining these efforts is an ever present challenge. Collaboration among many partners at the grassroots level to tackle big issues felt locally is a key to program longevity, but it requires a unity of purpose and many good hands and minds to make it work.
The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis, Rural Schools Collaborative’s Indiana and Great Lakes Hub anchor, is one such success story. They recently celebrated 20 years of hard work bringing education leaders across Indiana together in support of public schools, and we are pleased to share their story with you.
Through a founding vision of bringing people together to share ideas, craft new methods, and inspire clear action, CELL has remained a source of innovation and progress in the Indiana education sphere. Though collaboration and communication can be difficult to execute well, for two decades CELL has been able to assemble superintendents, principals, and teachers from across the state to hash out best practices needed for Indiana schools to thrive.
CELL has also established the Indiana Collaborative for Rural Education as a way to frame the organization’s work within the rural context. Led by RSC’s hub contact, Dr. Jeremy Eltz, the ICRE has worked to continue developing CELL’s early college network in rural areas.
Eltz reports that the program is going strong and three of their partner superintendents have even met with school leaders from Pennsylvania to share insights into early college programming.
The steady growth of CELL’s rural work was further highlighted this year as the National Rural Education Association hosted its annual National Forum to Advance Rural Education in Indianapolis. Representatives from a number of CELL’s rural partners presented in breakout sessions, and a group of rural Hosier students shared their perspectives on a panel during the convention’s opening session.
Yet even before the excitement and fanfare of the convention started, Dr. Eltz and CELL graciously hosted a gathering of RSC staff and hub partners from across the country for an evening Meet-up Mixer. This opportunity to connect with friends, new and old, was only the beginning of a two-day event brimming with the fruits of working and innovating together.
Rural Schools Collaborative would like to thank Dr. Eltz and the whole CELL team for coordinating this meet-up, and to wish them another 20 years and more of good work worth CELLebrating.
Taking a Moment to Look Back
To learn more about CELL and its development, check out this video honoring the 20th anniversary:
CELL serves as the anchor for Rural Schools Collaborative’s Indiana and Great Lakes Hub, which includes rural communities across Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Learn more about RSC’s hub network and other regional hubs here.