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Community Schools Reinvigorate Rural Education


Many rural communities face a challenge in providing quality education to students. They are confronted with difficult odds- inadequate financing, teacher shortages, and inaccessible or unaffordable services for children and families. In locations with scant resources, community schools provide the greatest opportunity for quality education and success in rural communities.

This report discusses the role of community schools in rural education and examines community schools. It highlights three examples of successful rural community schools: Owsley Elementary School in Booneville, Kentucky; Molly Stark School in Bennington, Vermont; and Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine. These three success stories provide a framework for discussing the benefits, characteristics, and policy of rural community schools.

Based on the challenges that rural areas face in attempting to implement community schools the report offers the following recommendations:

• States and rural districts should develop a rural teacher recruitment strategy that
emphasizes the benefits of teaching in a community school.

• Rural schools and districts should remove barriers to substantive parental and
community engagement in schools.

• New school planning should incorporate multiple related community needs.

• States should help to reduce financial risk to community school partners when
they undertake new construction projects.

• Congress and state legislatures should provide incentives for, and place special
emphasis on, the development and implementation of community schools as
a turnaround strategy for high-needs Title I and other low-performing schools.

• Congress and state legislatures should increase investments in community.

The word "community", schools, represents more than those services and activities that occur outside of the school setting. It "implies uniqueness about place and the people who live there. Each has a unique set of relationships, power structures, challenges, and opportunities. We must therefore plan each community school taking into account its individual surroundings and circumstances". Download the full report NOW!

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