RSC Announces Far Northern California Hub

The Chico State-North State Together Partnership will support rural education initiatives.

May 29, 2017 |

The Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) is proud to announce the establishment of the Chico State-North State Together Hub, which will serve far northern California. The primary partners in this new venture are California State University, Chico and North State Together. The new hub's key point people are Ann Schulte and Kevin O'Rorke (pictured below). Ann is a Professor of Education at California State University, Chico, and Kevin serves as Vice-President of Student Services at Shasta College, a founding member of North State Together.

This new hub will serve far northern California communities in the following ways:

  • The hub will be a vehicle for organizing and sharing the “transformational” work being done in the region by the Chico State-North State Together partnership.
  • RSC will “connect” the far northern California hub to other regional hubs through a small and lean national operations office with a strong emphasis on social marketing.
  • By and large, the work of RSC will occur within the context of this California hub and other regional hub partners.
  • Through the hub, RSC and the Chico State-North State Together partnership will work together to create, fund, and share innovative work and activity.

Schulte, who is an RSC Advocate, recognizes the importance of these kinds of collaborations. "It's vital that California State University Chico engage with regional partners in order to support the recruitment and retention of rural teachers. The partnership with North State Together is essential to not only "growing our own" teachers, but it also lends support to an increase in educational attainment and college going culture overall."

Gary Funk, RSC director, also praised the effort: “We are truly excited to begin this new partnership. Working with efforts and people of this caliber strengthens our organization and is a real boost to our new hub structure."

The Chico State-North State Together partnership includes two signature and exemplary programs that align perfectly with the Rural Schools Collaborative mission. Chico State's Residency in Secondary Education program (RiSE) is a 12 to 18-month master’s degree program with a full time, yearlong teacher residency leading to California teacher certification in English, Mathematics, Science, or Special Education. The program is an outgrowth of Chico's Rural Teacher Residency program, which was designed and implemented to train teachers for success in rural school districts in Northern California. Graduate coursework is combined with classroom mentors and experiences, culminating in a masters degree and credentialing to address the need for exemplary teachers in rural schools. Financial support is provided through a stipend during the program that is later forgiven after serving 3 years in a high need school.

North State Together is a regional collective partnership funded by a $2.5 million grant awarded by the McConnell Foundation. The grant will help create a “Cradle to Career” partnership in the North State where leaders from education, business, philanthropic, nonprofit, civic, and faith communities join together to improve education success for every child through a data-driven, collective impact approach. The goal will be to increase educational options at all levels with ultimate impacts on overall economic and community health.

The shared work in northern California is augmented by the recently announced partnership with Red Bluff, CA-based and The Vault, which connects innovative rural teachers, and RSC's Grants in Place program, which will be announced in the near future.

In addition to the far northern California hub, the Rural Schools Collaborative will be introducing additional hubs in Alabama, southern Wisconsin, western Illinois and the Missouri Ozarks. An Arkansas hub in conjunction with the Rural Community Alliance was announced in April. The establishment of regional hubs is a direct outgrowth of RSC's 2016-17 Action Plan.
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