RSC, NREA Celebrate Successful National Forum to Advance Rural Education in Chattanooga, TN

Highlighted by many Rural Schools Collaborative Hub Partners, this year’s conference centered spatial equity in rural education and research.

November 21, 2023 |

Rural Schools Collaborative and the National Rural Education Association co-hosted the National Forum to Advance Rural Education Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 15-17. With record-breaking attendance, this gathering sparked inspiring conversations and ideas among rural education leaders through conversations spearheaded by many in RSC's network of hub partners. Sincere thanks to Dr. Allen Pratt of the NREA for co-hosting this conference. Together, we are advancing the future of rural education!

Along the banks of the Tennessee River in charming Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rural Schools Collaborative and the National Rural Education Association (NREA) wrapped up a successful National Forum to Advance Rural Education Conference. “It’s an honor to have this opportunity to host this national rural education conference in my town,” said Dr. Allen Pratt, Executive Director of NREA and Co-Director of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Education and Educational Leadership. Throughout the conference, leading educators, researchers, and advocates of rural education gathered to share and discuss a range of vital topics, centered around spatial and educational equity.

Leading these conversations were many RSC partners, including hub leaders from across the country. Additionally, Cat Biddle (University of Maine; New England Hub), Loni Crumb (East Carolina University; Southeastern Hub), GRAD Partnership lead Annah Rodgers (University of Western Alabama; Alabama and the Black Belt Hub) and Susan Schroth (North State Together; Northern California Hub) opened up the dialogue by participating in a pre-conference panel, supported by NCRERN, that explored making research and data relevant, accessible, and actionable.

Throughout the conference, researchers, educators, and leaders from RSC hubs presented in 21 different learning sessions, many times collaborating with each other to share their research and perspectives. The ideas shared and inspiration gleamed throughout the week are essential to building a connected network that supports rural education everywhere.

Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, RSC Executive Director, noted, “This conference is my favorite part of the year - where else can we have such rich, interdisciplinary connections on all things rural ed? I am so grateful to the NREA and all the attendees for making this possible.”

This conference also served as the launching point for the 2023 Why Rural Matters report, including state-level data that is now available in an online data dashboard on the NREA website.

As we wrap up the conference, RSC and the NREA are excited to share the details for next year. NFARE will be headed south to scenic Savannah, Georgia on October 31-November 1, 2024. Save the dates and watch for information on our call for presenters campaign, which will open in early 2024.

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!

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