Rural Schools Collaborative and the National Rural Education Association have been advocates for each other since RSC's inception, and we have deepened our partnership over the last few years through shared rural education advocacy projects, such as the I Am A Rural Teacher Campaign, the National Rural Imperative Initiative, and the newly announced Teach Rural Job Board.
Both of our organizations are pleased to celebrate the success of our first jointly-hosted National Forum to Advance Rural Education, which took place on November 11-12 in Indianapolis and online. This year held an incredible amount of challenges for rural educators and community members, but the theme carried throughout the conference was hope.
The forum kicked off with a short, celebratory video featuring 5 rural teachers from all over the country sharing why they teach rural:
The momentum continued with the TED Talk keynote speakers, Haley Danielle Richardson, Benjamin Winchester, and Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto, challenging us to re-think what we know about equity in rural spaces.
Sandwiched on both ends by engaging learning sessions and breakout rooms, attendees also had the chance to sit down with David Ardrey of AIRSS, and farmer & author, Sarah Frey.
After some friendly competition at the silent auction, Day 2 of the forum did not disappoint. The conference-goers had the chance to hear from 5 outstanding rural students from 3 Indiana schools, facilitated by Brad Mitchell.
These high school students encouraged everyone to listen more closely to our younger generation, shared their ideas on how we can do better in rural schools, and celebrated what makes rural so special.
In addition to excellent individual sessions and presentations, everyone came together to recognize awardees who have made outstanding contributions in their field, including Laurie Smith, the 2021 National Rural Teacher of the year.
With record-breaking attendance and over 100 individual sessions from educators, researchers, and advocates, the passion for supporting rural communities is evident. Through this practice of sharing ideas, support, and innovations, a fair chance at a good life in rural is possible.
RSC & NREA would like to thank all attendees, presenters, and sponsors at this year’s forum. This event would not be possible without you. Thank you!
P.S. If you missed RSC’s virtual panel, check it out here to hear from 3 outstanding teachers on why they teach rural.