Last week the Rural Schools Collaborative ventured to Bismarck, North Dakota for a series of discussions with our North Dakota Hub partners, the North Dakota Small Organized Schools. During a presentation to small school superintendents and principals, Jim Beddow†, RSC board member from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said, "We simply must become more intentional in the preparation of future rural teacher leaders."
Jim's simple statement says a lot, and the Rural Teacher Corps concept is a driving force behind our work. However, encouraging talented young people to return to rural communities as teachers requires more than programs and partnerships. In addition to the development of purposeful collaborations, rural advocates must do all they can to rewrite a national narrative that all too often demeans public education and denigrates rural places. In fact, working together to write a new and powerful story may be the very most important thing that we all can do.
To this end the Rural Schools Collaborative has launched the I am a Rural Teacher initiative. Through social media and digital stories, we are doing all we can to share the perspectives and dreams of current and future teachers. To date, this has been a fledgling effort, but we are committed to this cause, and we are hopeful that our focus on message will play a role in strengthening the recruitment, preparation, and placement of rural teacher leaders.
Please help us celebrate rural teachers. Here's how:
- Join our I am a Rural Teacher Facebook group and start some conversations.
- Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and share these stories with others.
- Sign up for our email updates, which can be shared with others with a single keystroke.
- Submit stories or highlights of rural teachers who are making a difference.
Thank you for your consideration. We hope you will join us in what we believe is important work. (We are proud to honor future rural teachers, such as Connor Sullivan, pictured, a member of the new Western Illinois University Great River Teacher Corps.)
†Dr. Jim Beddow, longtime RSC advocate, board member and chair emeritus, and passed away on June 25, 2023. Read more about his legacy.
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