Northern California

Our partners at California State University-Chico and North State Together are supporting innovative programs connecting new teachers to rural communities.

California State University-Chico School of Education - Hub Lead

Karen Schreder, Regional Faculty Fellow at California State University-Chico serves as a primary contact for the Northern California Regional Hub. Chico State is tirelessly committed to serving the rural people and communities of far northern California, and offers a suite of teacher pathway programs, such as the CLASS program, to realize that vision.

Serving a geographically and culturally diverse region the size of Ohio, California State University-Chico is a higher education institution dedicated to ensuring the voices of all students who come to campus are heard and empowering, including rural students. The North State region of California holds the distinction of being almost entirely rural, more so than many of the places in the central or southern parts of the state. “Our region is vast,” shares Karen Schreder, a Regional Faculty Fellow at Chico State and a contact for RSC’s Northern California Hub, “We have a national park in our region, lakes, forests, and agriculture is a dominant economic driver.”

Chico State University's new rural student affinity space
Chico State University's rural student affinity space.

Karen has lived in and been committed to rural communities from the very beginning: “I grew up on a farm in rural Ontario, Canada, in a town of just over 6,000 people. I live rurally now, just outside of Chico California. I have been teaching in some capacity for over 20 years, and am starting my second year as faculty at Chico State, in the School of Education. I find myself deeply connected to rural schools and districts, and to the teachers and students there. I identify with the connection they feel to where they are from, the people in their town, and the sense of pride of a place that is built in rural spaces.”

That pride of place is something that Chico State has dedicated itself to encouraging and cultivating among its students. Along with a rural student affinity space in the library and the work of the Chico Student Success Center to support rural students’ needs, Karen details that Chico’s School of Education offers “several teacher residency programs that specifically serve rural schools. Currently we are working to submit a grant that will create and enhance recruitment and retention pathways for teachers in our most rural districts. We are also working with high school students who are interested in the teaching profession.” This includes the CLASS program, one of the early adopters of the Rural Teacher Corps concept.

Computation Literacy Across Secondary Settings Program Logo

Through partnership with Rural Schools Collaborative, Chico State, its students, and its community partners have been able to directly engage in national conversations to advance rural education. Moving forward, Karen shares that she “would like to create a cohort of rural high school students who would like to be educators. I would love for them to travel to Chico State, and meet each other, and connect with faculty here on campus.

North State Together - Hub Lead

Susan Schroth, Operations Manager and GRAD Partnership for Student Success Director for North State Together serves as a primary contact for the Northern California Regional Hub. North State Together is one of the largest geographical collectives in the United States, covering 10 counties and over 31,000 square miles. It provides direct resources, data , and research support to the ten counties that comprise the region.

The North State region of California is fortunate to have an engaged network of local organizations dedicated to ensuring the future prosperity and success of their local communities. Unifying these pockets of good work toward a common goal of collective impact and student success is North State Together. Through the generosity of local organizations, rural community activists, and the McConnell Foundation, North State Together was created through Shasta College as a backbone organization providing essential data, operations, and collaborative support to the region.

North State Together Logo
North State Together Logo

Susan Schroth, Operations Manager and Director of the GRAD Partnership for Student Success for North State Together, shares that the original inspiration for North State Together actually began in the medical field. The local public health department noticed that local mortality rates were the worst in the state of California. They soon discovered that education levels were highly correlated with early death rates, and local educators were invited to meetings in Shasta and Tahema counties. Relatedly, these meetings found that 1 in 6 North State residents lived in poverty, further underscoring the need for a collective impact model for the entire region that would focus on cradle-to-career outcomes.

The result was the establishment of North State Together with a mission to provide a unified approach to improving education outcomes by facilitating ongoing communication and collaboration across sectors and communities to share best practices. Since 2016, a core group of 5 county-level organizations collaborated around finding community-based solutions to ensure students can achieve career success.

More recently, this work has taken a huge step forward after North State Together was awarded $18.3 million through the state of California’s Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program. This award enabled North State Together to double their partnership capacity to encompass the entire North State region and grow their successful model of intentional collaboration. In a press release, they shared that this work with new and existing partners will “create occupational pathways that include accelerated degree/credential programs and work-based learning opportunities in healthcare and education.” In particular, partners will come together to “support college preparation and early credits, retain students through inclusive supports, implement high-tech, high-touch advising, and cultivate inclusive, engaging, and equity-oriented learning environments in education systems across the North State region.”

RSC Team and GRAD Partnership Directors
Susan Schroth (center) with Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, RSC Executive Director (Right), Savannah Franklund, RSC Development & Operations Manager (Left), and GRAD Partnership collaborators.

With a guiding vision of improving the personal and economic lives of communities that live and work in the remote North State, this new grant opportunity has allowed North State Together to continue sparking innovative, localized support for education and healthcare. Kevin O’Rorke, CEO of North State Together, remarked that he has “been so proud of the county teams, each one has succeeded and put up some accomplishments for what they’ve done.”

In addition to serving as a data, research, and collaborative support hub for the region, North State Together has worked with Rural Schools Collaborative to pilot the launch of the GRAD Partnership for Student Success. This national initiative encourages and supports the use of high quality student success systems that empower schools to graduate all students ready for the future. North State Together ispartnering with Rural Schools Collaborative to bring support grants to 10 rural high schools in the Northern California region

Learn more about North State Together:

Building a Legacy

Grants in Place Project Unites Community in California

Pictured: Jan Mathews

Jan Mathews, a science teacher at Sycamore Middle School in Gridley, CA, noticed that students didn’t have a comfortable place to eat outside. She launched a place-based project with students using grant funds to make a lasting change.

After hearing about RSC's Celia B. Godsil Grants in Place Fellows program, Mathew's decided to apply. Her interest and determination wound up bringing not only the students together to take initiative on the project, but also the community. The Grants in Place program is funded through the generous support from Celia and Mark Godsil in honor of Celia's career as a public school teacher and their belief in the importance of classroom teachers to rural communities. The Fellows program is limited to teachers who teach in public schools that are located in the geographic regions of RSC Regional Hubs.

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