ROWVA School Foundation's place-based grant puts students in the anchor seat

February 27, 2017 |

Students at ROWVA school district in western Illinois create student-led monthly news broadcasts for their community, thanks to a place-based grant from the ROWVA Public School Foundation.

In rural western Illinois, the ROWVA school district - a small district made up of five communities - is being bolstered by its local school foundation.

Thanks to a grant from the ROWVA Public Schools Foundation, middle school teacher Christopher Johnson has been able to help many kids explore their interests in technology through the school's AV club.

Students in the club have put together monthly newscasts that align with their interests, which are available to view on YouTube. The newscasts cover local news and events as well as national and international news. Each episode is entirely student-directed. "Our AV club is all student run. They plan, film, edit, and produce everything," said Johnson. "I just really only supervise and provide tech support as needed."

Clearly the students in this small club are engaged, not only with the pulse of events around the world and the country, but also within their small local hometowns.

The AV club, and consequently this group of tuned-in young students, has grown with the support of the ROWVA Public Schools Foundation, whose mission is "[To] supplement and enhance educational programs and the environment for the ROWVA Public Schools by creatively generating and dispersing necessary financial support."

Since 2015, the ROWVA Public Schools Foundation has been working in partnership with the Galesburg Community Foundation, which provides area nonprofits with a variety of services, including development planning. The ROWVA School Foundation has made significant strides in fundraising since beginning work with GCF, and students in the district (like those in the AV club) have seen direct results.

We applaud the work of the ROWVA Public Schools Foundation and their commitment to provide their rural students with excellent educational opportunities. Learn more about the progressive partnership between ROWVA Public Schools Foundation and the Galesburg Community Foundation here.


The Rural Schools Collaborative is committed to helping communities and school districts establish and build school foundations. Our board and advocates have a wealth of foundation building experiences, and we want to assist these kinds of efforts in any way possible. Also, you may want to watch the short 2012 film, Hats, Pies, and Fiddles: Strategies for Building a Rural School Foundation, which features school foundations in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

More stories on successful rural school foundation efforts can be found here.

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