School districts in many rural regions have struggled to recruit and retain teachers. In response to this need, the Monmouth College Department of Educational Studies has developed several initiatives, one of which is their Rural Teacher Corps, TARTANS - Teachers Allied with Rural Towns and Neighborhood Schools. The TARTANS program helps strengthen rural communities by preparing "teacher-visionaries" as catalysts for revitalizing these communities.
RSC thanks Monmouth College and the TARTANS for their partnership with us as part of our Western Illinois Hub in conjunction with the Galesburg Community Foundation.
Monmouth, IL (Thursday, February 21, 2019): Monmouth College Educational Studies Professors Craig Vivian, Tammy La Prad, and Michelle H. Simmons presented different aspects of their rural education initiatives, including the new Rural Teacher Corps (TARTANS), to community stakeholders during a college-community luncheon at Monmouth College.
Left to right: Professor Craig Vivian, Professor Tammy La Prad, Professor Michelle H. Simmons
Monmouth Associates Luncheon is a traditional luncheon series that brings community stakeholders and Monmouth College faculty together to discuss current programs in collaboration with the community. This forum allows professors to share their thoughts and ideas with community members, and it also encourages community members to engage and support the programs. This past Thursday, Educational Studies professors shared their progress with a set of rural education initiatives.
During the presentation faculty members updated the community on the recent developments with the TARTANS. One key point was that members of the TARTANS have been working on their vision statements, which will be presented as Poster Presentations during various events:
- March 14, TARTANS networking event: TARTANS members will meet with local teachers in an attempt to expand the TARTANS networking. They will have their posters ready, which will present their visions at this event. The aim is that each TARTANS member will connect with at least one teacher who would serve as a mentor during the TARTANS member's first year of teaching.
- April 16, (Monmouth College Scholars Day Presentations): TARTANS will present their visions through poster presentations to a larger audience than the local teachers.
- After these poster presentations are finished, the posters will be posted on Monmouth College Educational Studies hallway walls to allow students and visitors to learn about the TARTANS and what they do. This will take place in Monmouth's historic Wallace Hall
TARTANS program aims to prepare future rural teachers and help them establish themselves as leaders in their communities. The goals of the program are to prepare teachers who have a strong sense of “place”, mission, and rural identity – who know rural issues, challenges, and advantages – who are savvy communicators – who value collaboration within school, across community, and between diverse rural regions – and who are perceived as community leaders and catalysts for change.