Resource Center


R.I.S.E. America Project Theatre Grant Applications Due Feb. 6

Educational Theatre FoundationHigh school theatre teachers and educators — applications are due February 6 for NBC's R.I.S.E. America Project, an opportunity for your school's theatre program to receive $10,000.
Date: January 30, 2018
Related Categories: Administrator, Funding/Grants/Scholarships, Networks/Groups, Resource Center, Teacher, What's New
Related Tags: High School


Report: Leveling The Playing Field For Rural Students

Leveling the Playing FieldLimited access to advanced coursework, medical care, food and employment opportunities continue to daunt students in many rural communities, according to a report released today by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and The Rural School and Community Trust.


New "Why Rural Matters" Report Now Available

Why Rural Matters 2015-16The new edition of Why Rural Matters, from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rural School and Community Trust, provides an overall "priority" ranking of the 50 states, showing the greatest needs in rural education.


2013 Global Teacher Fellows Share Experiences

Thirty-two rural teachers traveled the globe in the summer of 2013. Read their stories and see photos.


New Location for Rural Trust's National Office

The Rural Trust's National Office has relocated to Washington, DC. Please note our new address and phone numbers.
Date: April 01, 2013
Related Categories: Resource Center
Related Tags: Rural Trust Publication


Why Rural Matters 2011-12: Statistical Indicators of the Condition of Rural Education in the 50 States

WhyRural Matters 2011-12Why Rural Matters 2011–12 is the sixth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Annenberg Public Policy Center News

Working with the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Rural School and Community Trust provides support for rural schools in the form of scholarships and student-focused programs.


The Influence of Teachers: Reflections on Teaching and Leadership

The Influence of Teachers: Reflections on Teaching and LeadershipIn this urgent and insightful book, John Merrow draws on his experience as a reporter for PBS and NPR to examine this question and others, and offer possibilities and solutions for a new education system.


Advanced Placement Incentive Program Grant

The U.S. Department of Education invites applications for the Advanced Placement Incentive program. Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is April 15, 2011.


Rural Trust Will Present Teen Financial Literacy Workshop at 2011 Youth Leadership Conference

Veniayetta Aikens, Youth Coordinator in the Capacity Building Program of the Rural School and Community Trust, will be hosting the workshop Teens for Financial Literacy at the 22nd Annual National Service-Learning Conference, April 6-9, 2011, in Atlanta, Georgia.


Research Raises Doubts About Benefits of Consolidation

Has the time for consolidation come and gone? Research shows that state policies that broadly push mergers of schools and districts will not save money and will likely lower the quality of education — especially for the poor.


Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program

Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation ProgramThis Rural Trust report analyzes the impact of the rural competitive preference in the first round of i3 grants issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The analysis considers whether the rural claim was well-made by the applicants and well-evaluated by the readers. In short, the federal grant program did little to attract authentically rural innovations to address the challenges of high-needs rural schools.


New Publication on EITC


The Foundation for the Mid South just released Earned Income Tax Credit: Working Hands Getting a Hand Up to share information on this valuable anti-poverty tool helping working, low-income people keep more of their earnings.
Date: January 13, 2011
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Networks/Groups, Parent, Resource Center, What's New
Related Tags: Income Related Issues, Poverty


Full Service Community Schools Grants Due July 23

The U.S. Department of Education has released the Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant. The Notice of Intent to Apply deadline is June 23; the application deadline is July 23, 2010.


U.S. Department of Education Holds Webinar on Reauthorization of ESEA and Rural Schools

John White, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education, is inviting rural superintendents and principals to participate in a webinar on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and rural schools on Thursday, May 27, 2010, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Date: May 25, 2010
Related Categories: Administrator, Resource Center
Related Tags: Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Webinar


The Rural Dropout Problem: An Invisible Achievement Gap

This report reviews high school dropout rates and related factors in rural high schools throughout 15 Southern and Southwestern states. These schools are in districts that are among the 800 rural districts with the highest student poverty rate nationally. Seventy-seven percent of the "Rural 800" districts and 87 percent of the students in them are in these fifteen targeted states.


Rural School Districts Eligible for Federal i3 Grant Application Assistance

Through a new $1.4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust will address provide customized technical assistance for rural school districts seeking i3 grants.
     For more information regarding technical assistance support through the Kellogg grant, please complete this short questionnaire (MSWord document) and return it via email.


Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarships

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Scholars Program supports hundreds of high-achieving students with financial need across the United States...


Why Rural Matters 2009: State and Regional Challenges and Opportunities

Why Rural Matters 2009Why Rural Matters 2009 is the fifth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Links to Other Rural Education Resources

The following websites are good sources of information with regard to rural schools and school districts.
Date: September 18, 2009
Related Categories: Resource Center
Related Tags: All States


Voices from the Fisheries Handbook

Voices from the Fisheries HandbookVoices From the Fisheries Handbook is an oral history handbook written for teachers as well as marine-oriented and other community organizations. The handbook includes information of how to develop projects and conduct oral history interviews.


Search for Resources by State

Use this map to find resources from your state on the Rural Trust website.
Date: June 26, 2009
Related Categories: Resource Center
Related Tags: All States


What is the Targeted Reading Intervention?

Through a partnership with the National Research Center for Rural Education Support, located at the University of North Carolina, the Rural Trust can offer evidence-based reading strategies delivered by the classroom teacher, called the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI). These diagnostically based strategies have proven to significantly improve early reading in struggling and non-struggling readers in rural schools.


WKCD Speech Contest 2009: Crisis and Hope

Young people today are living through a time of economic and world crisis. But crisis also gives birth to hope and opportunity. As Graduation Day approaches, WKCD invites you to raise your voice and let others know what matters most to you, in this moment and in the years ahead. Give it your best and you may be a winner, with your voice heard around the world!
Date: April 02, 2009
Related Categories: Funding/Grants/Scholarships, Resource Center, Rural Policy Matters, Student
Related Tags: Youth


Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth

Why Rural Matters 2007Why Rural Matters 2007 is the fourth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency for policymakers in each state to address rural education issues.


Pennsylvania School Funding Formula Report

Pennsylvania School Funding ReportPennsylvania has enacted substantial changes in its school funding formula, including a factor that adjusts a district's state aid based on estimates of the relative cost of hiring teachers in that particular district compared to the cost of hiring equally qualified teachers in other districts.


Rural School and Community Trust 2008 Annual Report

The projects and programs featured in our 2008 Annual Report represent the scope of our work aimed at fulfilling that mission. This report also includes a list of our board of directors, key staff, and financial statements for 2008.



An Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts

Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School DistrictsAn Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts, a report of the Rural School and Community Trust and the Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute, presents findings from an investigation of the impact of the funding formula proposal commissioned by the New Mexico Funding Formula Task Force (FFTF) and developed by American Institutes of Research (AIR).


RSIN Webinar: Learning for All Students: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners in Rural Places, January 28, 2009

English Language Learners in Rural Places was the topic of the first Webinar of Winter 2009.


School Discipline: Special Edition

Across the country disturbing patterns are emerging in the ways schools deal with students on disciplinary issues. This special edition of RPM takes an in-depth look at some of these issues with emphasis on how communities can get involved to ensure that all students have the best educational opportunities in school environments that are safe and supportive...


Discipline of Students with Disabilities

Addressing behavior problems in students with disabilities requires knowledge of the law and specific processes...


Disproportionate Discipline: African-American Students in U.S. Schools

African-American students are more likely than other students to be suspended, expelled, or disciplined with corporal punishment. There is no evidence that African-American students have a higher incidence of serious misbehavior than other students. Rather, they receive harsher punishments for more minor and subjective infractions...


Facts and Figures About Rural Students of Color

The total number of rural students of color more than double between 1995-96 and 2004-05.


Finding the Discipline Data

Most schools collect a good bit of data on behavior incidents and disciplinary actions. Learn how to find that data…


Graph: To What Extent Are Parents Involved in School Discipline Issues?

To what extent are parents involved in school discipline issues?


Help Shape the National Rural Education Policy Agenda

Lend your perspective on important policy issues affecting rural schools, students, and communities…


Mississippi Communities Take Responsibility for School Discipline

Citizens in Sunflower County, Mississippi are using policy to take responsibility for what happens to students in their schools…


Improving the Disciplinary Climate: More Options for Communities

A variety of approaches can be useful to communities to help improve the disciplinary climate of their schools…


Positive Behavior Intervention Supports: A School-Wide Approach to Improving Behavior and School Climate

The best way to address school discipline issues is to create an environment where mutual respect is a primary value and students are taught and supported to behave in productive and responsible ways…


Montana Court Denies Relief

Financial problems in rural Montana districts are acknowledged, but the court doesn’t order relief…


The Legal Landscape of School Discipline

Both schools and students have rights and responsibilities when it comes to discipline…


The Other School Violence

Parents have little recourse when their children are treated violently at school, at least in many states…


"Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?" A Review

Many schools and districts across the country have adopted “zero tolerance” policies that impose specific, often severe, penalties on students for behavior infractions. Research suggests these policies may be counter-productive…


RSIN Membership Brochure

The Rural School Innovation Network (RSIN) is a network of schools and school districts striving for excellence in challenging circumstances. The Membership Brochure describes benefits of this program.


Rural School and Community Trust 2007 Annual Report

The Rural School and Community Trust's 2007 Annual Report provides a summary of the organization's programs, achievements, and goals.


RSIN Quarterly: Case Studies of Successful Practices

Wakefield Nebraska Family Resource Center: RSIN Case StudyRead about Wakefield, Nebraska's Family Resource Center with multiple programs serving the community, including new immigrants into the school and the community.


Youth-Led Poverty Reduction Project

In 2006, students in St. Helena, Louisiana worked to ensure that low-income members of their community received their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—a provision in the federal tax code targeting people of incomes below $35,000 to offset the burden of social security taxes.


The Rural Perspective: An Analysis of the Proposed Department of Education's Budget and How It Will Impact Rural America for FY 2008

In partnership with AASA, NEA, and NAFIS, we provide an overview of how the President's proposed budget will affect rural schools and communities.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Gauge and Indicator Results

Gauge and Indicator Results from Why Rural Matters 2007, including six focus areas: Importance, Socioeconomic Challenges, Student Diversity, Policy Context, Outcomes, and Rural Education Priority.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Major Findings

Major findings from Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Press Room

Media links and information for Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Print Edition

Why Rural Matters 2007: Print EditionWhy Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth is a snapshot of rural education that provides essential information on the condition of rural education in the 50 states and uncovers new trends and challenges facing rural educators.


Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Most Overlooked Rural Communities

Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Rural Communities"Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Most Overlooked Rural Communities describes the challenges facing low-wealth rural school districts in eastern North Carolina as they relate to issues of teacher quality and summarizes the rural-specific strategies going on around the country to respond to these challenges. The report also covers how North Carolina is doing in each strategy, and provides additional recommendations based on the specific circumstances in North Carolina that would help address the pressing issue of providing all children in North Carolina the teachers they deserve. "


Connecting School and Community in Northeastern North Carolina

The Rural School and Community Trust is working in North Carolina to build the capacity of grassroots leaders and community-based organizations to engage in local school reform in vulnerable rural communities, build strong out-of-school supports for student learning, and establish a network of rural activists who will develop and advocate for policies and practices to improve education for students throughout the state.


Title I Weighted Grants Skewed Toward Largest Districts: Per Pupil Funding Varies Sharply by District Size

Title I Weighted GrantsSince 2002, some of the federal funds provided to local school districts under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have been distributed through weighted grant formulas intended to better target funding to districts with the highest concentrations of poverty. While a worthy goal, these formulas actually skew funds toward larger districts and place a greater value on the education of a Title I student in a large district than on the education of a Title I student in a smaller district — even when these districts have the same poverty rate.


Riding to School in Slow Motion

Riding to School in Slow MotionStudents who attend consolidated rural high schools face longer bus rides and are less likely to participate in extra-curricular activities because of the challenge of transportation. This is one finding in Slow Motion: Traveling by School Bus in Consolidated Districts in West Virginia. Survey results show that high school students who ride the bus and attend consolidated high schools lose an average of 49 minutes each day, compared to students who have other forms of transportation in those same districts. Though the report focuses specifically on consolidation outcomes in West Virginia, the lessons learned are a warning to any state that has pursued or is considering pursuing consolidation as an education policy.


Recommendations for Improvements to No Child Left Behind

The Rural Trust recommends an alternative approach to six areas of NCLB in order to take into account the unique circumstances of rural schools and rural students.


The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools

The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public SchoolsWhile numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students, our report, The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling, identifying ten research-based attributes of small schools that are proven to have a positive impact on kids and their learning.


An Investigation of School Closures Resulting from Forced District Reorganization in Arkansas

An Investigation of School Closures Resulting from Forced District Reorganization in ArkansasSome policymakers and other advocates of reorganizing Arkansas' public education system have insisted that the minimum district size requirements included in Act 60 and the district closings authorized under the Omnibus Education Act are aimed at closing school districts only, for the sake of "administrative" efficiency. They argue that the forced reorganization of districts is not intended to close schools. Some tease the issue a bit, adding that at the very least it doesn't have to happen, and in their view, probably will not happen. This analysis of the ways that reorganization has played out over the past two years strongly suggests otherwise.


Compounding Challenges: Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Fiscal Resources in Oregon's Rural School Districts

Compounding ChallengesThis report presents findings from an investigation into relationships between academic achievement and the distribution of fiscal resources among rural school districts in Oregon. The investigation was prompted by earlier-reported findings suggesting the critical nature of both achievement gaps and resource gaps among rural school districts in the state. A variety of statistical procedures yielded consistent findings indicating that there is considerable disparity in the distribution of fiscal resources among rural districts, and that the level of fiscal resources available to districts significantly influences educational outcomes.


Learning with Public Purpose

Learning with Public Purpose (LPP) is the Rural Trust’s answer to simultaneously improving rural schools and communities. When student learning contributes to the larger public purposes of the community, young people develop the habits of citizenship and service while also deepening their understanding of knowledge in core subjects. The community reaps the benefits of what young people can accomplish when they are engaged, challenged, and valued as citizens of their place.


20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment

For those rural schools and communities across the country facing declining student enrollment, there are no easy answers. But there are steps policymakers and communities can take to help cushion the negative impact of declining enrollment on schools to ensure that "no child left behind" also means "no place left behind." 20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment details 20 policies that provide students in communities experiencing declining enrollment with a high quality education and also buy time for communities to rebound, improve, or adjust to changes in population and revenue.


Rural School and Community Trust 2005 Annual Report

Learn the details of our key strategies in fulfilling our mission, along with our list of board of directors, key staff, and financial statements for 2005.


Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Financial Resources in Mississippi School Districts

Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Financial Resources in Mississippi School DistrictsThis report suggests that the distribution of both school funding and qualified teachers are primary forces behind Mississippi's achievement gaps. It finds that districts with students facing the most severe challenges to high academic achievement are also the districts that have the most limited resources with which to address those challenges. Conversely, districts with students facing the fewest challenges are also the ones with the most resources.


Why Rural Matters 2005: The Facts About Rural Education in the 50 States

Why Rural Matters 2005Why Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.


Why Rural Matters 2005: News Conference Transcript

This transcript of the virtual news conference for Why Rural Matters 2005 features Rachel Tompkins, Ed.D., President, Rural School and Community Trust; Jerry Johnson, Ed.D., State and Regional Policy Studies Manager; and Marty Strange, Director of Policy Programs at the Rural Trust.


Why Rural Matters 2005: Print Edition

Why Rural Matters 2005: Print EditionWhy Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.


Rural School and Community Trust 2004 Annual Report

The mission of the Rural School and Community Trust is to help rural schools and communities get better together.


Good Rural High School Case Study: Sicily Island High School, Sicily Island, Louisiana

Siciliy Island HIgh SchoolThis case study of Siciliy Island High School, Sicily Island, Louisiana using the Good Rural High School assessment rubric developed by the Rural School and Community Trust reveals a rural high school that is yielding results.


Good Rural High School Case Study: Shaw High School, Shaw, Mississippi

Shaw High SchoolThis case study of Shaw High School, Shaw, Mississippi using the Good Rural High School assessment rubric developed by the Rural School and Community Trust provides an exemplar study in rural high school improvement.


Good Rural High Schools: Principles and Standards

Principles and StandardsPrinciples and standards for good high schools developed by the Rural School and Community Trust.


Good Rural High Schools: Rubrics and Standards for High School Observation and Assessment

Rubrics and StandardsRubric-based assessment system for high schools developed by the Rural School and Community Trust.


Lights, Camera... Leadership!

Lights Camera Leadership!Lights, Camera... Leadership! is a high school credit-bearing curriculum that develops leadership and academic skills through the process of making and premiering a Community Video.


The Star with My Name: The Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Impact of Place-Based Education on Native Student Achievement

The Star With My NameThis white paper from the Rural Trust's capacity building program shows how place-based learning has led to favorable academic outcomes for students in rural Alaska. "The Star With My Name" recounts the methods and successes of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative using place-based learning with Alaska Native students in the state's small rural schools.


Land for Granted: The Effects of Acreage Policies on Rural Schools and Communities

Land for GrantedIn many states, receiving state aid to build a new school — or renovate an existing one — is contingent on compliance with state policies that state the minimum acreage necessary for a particular type of school. This report finds that these minimum acreage requirements — imposed in 23 states — often create special problems for rural school districts. The report also explains the kinds of policies in effect in various states and outlines their impacts on small and rural school districts.


Place-Based Learning Portfolio Workbook

A self-evaluation system in which school and community groups gather evidence of their place-based learning efforts, tell the story of their work while drawing on that evidence, and then analyze and reflect on their progress toward their goals.


Engaged Institutions: Impacting Vulnerable Youth Through Place-Based Learning

Engaged InstitutionsWith funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural Trust sponsored several researchers to develop case studies examining the connections between higher education institutions and vulnerable youth in communities that have chosen place-based education as a framework for student learning and community growth. The report explores the development of rural Education Renewal Zones in Missouri, an aquaculture project in northeastern Maine that is helping revitalize a small town's fishing economy, and a project in New Mexico focused on water use and conservation through using an "acequia" irrigation system. Engaged Institutions also features in-depth studies on other place-based learning partnerships including initiatives to preserve Navajo culture in Indian schools in Arizona, unique media arts projects in Appalachia, and a project aimed at improving writing skills using local culture in the Mississippi Delta.


Alternative Ways to Achieve Cost Effective Schools

There are legitimate concerns about the administrative costs of running small school districts. It has been widely assumed that the only way to reduce these costs is to achieve economies of scale by eliminating school districts through consolidation. Proposals to consolidate districts often include assurances that closing districts does not mean that schools have to close. The idea is that we can reduce administrative costs without losing the educational benefits of small schools.


The Competitive Disadvantage: Teacher Compensation in Rural America

The Competitive DisadvantageThe No Child Left Behind Act envisions a "highly qualified" teacher in every American classroom. It is a noble goal, to be sure, but according to this report, it is a goal that presents special challenges to already stressed rural schools struggling to recruit and retain qualified teachers. A severe teacher shortage, combined with rural teacher salaries that lag significantly behind those of urban and suburban teachers, will make it difficult to achieve the vision articulated in NCLB. The Competitive Disadvantage explores the latest data and research relevant to rural teacher compensation and suggests policy directions that can help guarantee that no rural children are left behind in the national quest for educational excellence.


Distance Learning Technologies: Giving Small Schools Big Capabilities

In school and district consolidation, the well-documented benefits of small schools to students and their communities are lost. It doesn't have to be this way. Other alternatives, such as distance learning, are both possible and preferable. Distance learning can provide students access to a virtually unlimited curriculum while retaining the benefits of small, local schools. But distance learning can be done well, or badly. Here, too, there are choices.


Lowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof ...and other Rural Trust strategies to reduce the costs of your small school

Lowering the OverheadLowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof provides strategies to help communities reduce the costs of maintaining, building, and renovating small schools, author Barbara Lawrence reports on specific strategies that rural communities have used and shares what she has learned from people throughout the country.


Tell Us How It Was: Stories of Rural Elders Preserved by Rural Youth

Tell Us How It WasA valuable collection of oral histories assembled by students in rural communities across the country, this unbound volume designed for a three-ring binder seeks to both celebrate this outstanding work and also encourage teachers and students to design oral history projects of their own. It includes samples of oral histories gathered from around the country, a review of an oral history project from planning through to completion, and an extensive annoutated bibliography, detailing oral history resources for teachers and students.


Echoes in the Hallway: A Play by Joseph P. Hiney

Echoes in the Hallway: A Play by Joseph P. HineyThis student performance produced by the Rural Trust Policy Program raises many troubling topics teens face -- abuse, discrimination, suicide, pregnancy, school violence -- all while trying to make sense of a standardized system of schooling. Recommended as a powerful conversation/meeting starter for education and youth advocacy groups, faculty, administrators, students and policymakers.
Date: September 01, 2001
Related Categories: Curriculum, Resource Center, Resource Shop, Student, Teacher
Related Tags: Assessing Student Work, Rural Trust Publication, Youth


Assessing Student Work

Assessing Student WorkAn update of the earlier Assessment Monograph, this report discusses the limitations of standardized testing in evaluating student progress and offers alternative methods to assess project and place-based student work.


Standards in Public Schools: A Policy Statement of the Rural School and Community Trust

http://www.ruraledu.org/articles.php?id=2087This document articulates the Rural Trust's views on academic standards, with particular emphasis on the role of community input in setting and maintaining standards. Ann C. Lewis, columnist for KAPPAN magazine, called this policy statement "one of the finest philosophical documents to come out of the standards movement."