The Land of Lincoln has played a key role in the development of the Rural Schools Collaborative, and is home to our main office.

The Illinois Hub exemplifies the RSC mission and includes statewide rural teacher corps projects, the Place Network, and rural philanthropy efforts. The Illinois Hub is anchored by our partnerships with the Galesburg Community Foundation and Monmouth College.

The organizational roots of Rural Schools Collaborative are sunk deep within the prairies of Illinois. Since our founding in 2015, the higher education institutions, community foundations, nonprofits, and rural schools and communities of Illinois have been central players in the organization's growth. Consistent throughout these years of engagement with the diverse community of rural-focused allies is a commitment to people, a vision of thriving communities, a belief that local public schools are a keystone for joining it all together.

Identity and Inclusion in Rural Education

A Sense of Self and Place

RSC Place Network Liason, Jenni Dickens reports back on Monmouth College's efforts to support rural multilingual learner.

When 40 Kindergarten and 1st grade multilingual students walked onto Monmouth College’s campus one Friday morning, they were greeted by familiar faces: Their own. The library’s periodical shelves had been transformed into a gallery exhibit of their self-portraits, the culminating projects of a unit of study on skin-color and identity.

While students in the Monmouth-Roseville school district all live in the same small rural community in western Illinois, they come from a broad range of national, ethnic and racial backgrounds. A striking 15 languages are represented in the district, and one in every five students in the district is multilingual. These students’ first years of school often take place in language-supported settings – such as in bilingual and English as a Second Language classrooms – that also aim to affirm their diverse identities.

Monmouth College’s REDI (Rural Education Initiatives) program collaborated with local teachers and the College’s library director to bring the students to campus with two goals in mind: To publicly display students’ work and to help the students see themselves (literally) in college.

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