Three New Intermediaries Join the GRAD Partnership and Rural Schools Collaborative’s Rural Cohort

RSC’s Regional Hubs in Arizona, Missouri Ozarks, and the Southeast will become Grad Partnership Intermediaries and join the project starting this fall.

June 6, 2024 |
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Rural Schools Collaborative is adding three new Intermediaries to the GRAD Partnership’s rural cohort from our Regional Hub network: The Rural Education Institute (REI) in the College of Education at East Carolina University, Arizona Rural Schools Association, and Missouri State University’s Center for Rural Education. They will join The University of West Alabama and California’s North State Together in this growing effort.

Rural Schools Collaborative is adding three new Intermediaries to the GRAD Partnership’s rural cohort. The Rural Education Institute (REI) in the College of Education at East Carolina University, Arizona Rural Schools Association, and Missouri State University’s Center for Rural Education will join The University of West Alabama and California’s North State Together in this growing effort. All five rural cohort members serve as Regional Hubs for the Rural Schools Collaborative.

The GRAD Partnership and its Intermediaries work together to plan, implement, and sustain high-quality student success systems so that middle and high schools are prepared to graduate all students ready for the future. Intermediaries serve as regional catalysts for this work, and they advance the GRAD Partnership’s mission by reaching local schools, connecting with community resources, and building regional expertise to support ongoing student success work.

While local communities and schools directly benefit from Intermediaries’ support, serving as an Intermediary also brings value to the organizations serving in this role. Intermediaries develop local and regional relationships that enhance their own missions; and they also garner increased visibility through collaborating with national partners with decades of experience in student success work.

The three new Intermediaries will develop new school cohorts of at least ten schools in their respective regions. Each organization is uniquely suited for this important role:

Rural Education Institute

The Rural Education Institute (REI) of East Carolina University is based out of Greenville, North Carolina. REI collaborates with stakeholders to support positive transformation in rural families, schools, and communities. REI initiates and facilitates partnerships and research-driven innovations that enhance holistic development and opportunities for PK-16 students and their families in rural communities.

Kristen Cuthrell, professor and director of REI, expressed her enthusiasm for becoming a GRAD Partnership Intermediary, “As a member of GRAD Partnership’s rural cohort, REI looks forward to working with schools and communities in our eastern North Carolina region to support student success.”

Arizona Rural Schools Association

The Arizona Rural Schools Association (ARSA) is dedicated to statewide instructional improvement and serves as a member of the National Rural Education Association. ARSA will be partnering with the University of Northern Arizona in its GRAD Partnership work, and they will work with a group of small school districts from throughout the state.

“We are excited to engage in the work of the GRAD Partnership,” said Melissa Sadorf, executive director of ARSA. “In rural places where schools are typically the heart of the community, strengthening our partnerships with parents and other stakeholders to help support our students is critical to the success of all.”

Center for Rural Education

Missouri State University’s Center for Rural Education is Missouri’s only state-supported entity focused on the needs of rural schools. Based out of Springfield, MSU has a branch campus in the rural Ozarks community of West Plains.

Dr. Barri Tinkler, Dean of the College of Education, notes the alignment of the Center’s mission and the role of a GRAD Partnership Intermediary. “GRAD Partnership is the perfect inaugural project for the MSU Center for Rural Education because it allows us to work closely with some of our rural partners to help them better meet the needs of their students.”

Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, executive director of the Rural Schools Collaborative, shared that “we are very excited that these three new members will join our rural cohort as Intermediaries. They each represent unique areas of our nation, and the expertise and experience they bring will strengthen the movement to ensure all students have the supports they need to succeed.”

In addition to the rural cohort members, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis is also serving as a GRAD Partnership Intermediary. However, CELL’s work as an Intermediary is not restricted to rural communities, as they are supporting student success system work in a number of urban school settings as well. CELL anchors the Rural Schools Collaborative’s Indiana Regional Hub.


About The GRAD Partnership

The GRAD Partnership for Student Success is a collaborative, national effort partnering with communities to use high-quality student success systems so that schools are empowered to graduate all students ready for the future. The Partnership is a joint effort between nine organizations and institutions: Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, American Institutes for Research, BARR Center, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Network for College Success at the University of Chicago, Rural Schools Collaborative, Schott Foundation for Public Education, and Talent Development Secondary. Learn more at gradpartnership.org.

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