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Community Schools Work as Turnaround Solutions in Rural Areas


The U.S. Department of Education has recently released preliminary data on the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, including information on which of the four defined turnaround options schools are using. While the data seems promising to some, rural school advocates hold the position that the options are too urban-centric. The Rural School and Community Trust wants additional study of solutions, including community school models that are working for some rural schools.

The SIG program’s most popular option is the transformational model. This model requires developing teacher and leader effectiveness, increasing learning time, and often replacing the principal. The vast majority of rural schools are using this model. Rural school advocates argue that a big reason behind this choice is the other models are much more difficult for rural schools to implement. In rural areas there are less available teachers for hire, it is more difficult to find a charter company willing to take over the school, and often there is no better performing school nearby to send students to if the school were to shut down. Adding more turnaround choices, such as turning schools into community centers, may be beneficial, especially for rural schools. Read more...

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