The Lumpkin Family Foundation has awarded the Rural School Collaborative a $2,800 grant to work with the Central Illinois Rural School Collaborative (ciRSP) to support the expansion of the ciRSP Farm to School Network in central Illinois.
Frist, the grant will enable project stakeholders to conduct a site visit to the village of Cambridge, Wisconsin. The purpose of the site visit is two-fold. The first element of this project is to take the group of school leaders, teachers, EIU faculty, and community members to visit Koshkonong Trails School in Cambridge to learn about this new school and the relationship to Cambridge community Farm to School efforts. Koskonong Trails just opened this year on the school district farm, and the Cambridge Farm to School is a volunteer-run organization that assists with programming and facilitates hands-on education and learning opportunities in the Cambridge School District. The ciRSP is working to develop a similar series of programs in concert with the Illinois Farm to School Network. In addition, Koshkonong Trails School is a member of Teton Science Schools' Place Network Schools. Cambridge is the site of the Rural Schools Collaborative's administrative office and serves as its Southern Wisconsin Hub.
A second goal is to explore the relationship among the community, the school, and the emerging Place Network Schools. The Place Network Schools (PNS) is a Teton Science Schools initiative to create a network of micro-schools and blended learning options connecting curriculum with community. The PNS inspires global citizenship through local learning. The program is a comprehensive blended-learning program for K-12 students and teachers that combines an online learning experience with a place-based approach. Interdisciplinary study and project learning pathways teach students to better understand and engage in local communities and understand global challenges through an innovative academic program. While students will be retrieving curricula online, they will be interacting in and engaging with the community within which they live. Bringing this model to central Illinois would be significant in transforming education in this area.
When the group returns from the trip to Wisconsin, they will work with the Rural School Collaborative to plan and implement a convening of higher education, schools, and community stakeholders to share what they learned. The goal is to solicit new partners to join the Central Illinois Farm to School Network and generate ideas for future activities.
The Rural Schools Collaborative is honored to partner with the Central Illinois Rural School Collaborative and Eastern Illinois University. Learn more about our partners.