Community Organizing

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Edgecombe County, NC: Bringing Educators and Leaders Together to Discuss Community Impact

In Edgecombe County, North Carolina, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Educational Equity, had its first town hall-style meeting in February. The Commission is comprised of educators, local board of education members, faith-based leaders, parents, students, and policymakers.

Community Schools 2016 National Forum Scheduled for April 6 - 8 in Albuquerque

Rural educators and stakeholders are encouraged to attend the Community Schools 2016 National Forum.

Application Deadline for 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program Extended to February 12

The Rural Trust is pleased to announce that applications for the 2016 Global Teacher Fellowship Program are now open!  The application deadline has been extended to February 12, 2016.

Read for Success Report Addresses Summer Learning Loss in Poor and Rural Communities

In May 2015, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) released the report entitled, Read for Success: Combating the Summer Learning Slide. The study was designed by RIF to determine how schools and communities in the poorest and/or most rural areas could address summer learning loss, and ultimately the achievement gap, through access to opportunity, books, and learning resources.

Virginia Rural Elementary Schools Receive Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children Grants

Two rural public elementary schools in Virginia will receive grants of $50,000 each from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which provides educational resources to underfunded schools in rural communities.

Administration Releases Report, Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty

On May 20, 2015, the White House released the report, entitled, Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty. The report examines poverty in rural areas, compares urban and rural poverty rates, discusses how safety net programs reduce rural poverty, and highlights the Administration's efforts and proposals to reduce poverty and promote opportunity in rural communities.

Listen to IEL's Community Schools and Equity Recorded Webinar Series

Beginning in January 2015, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has hosted a series of community schools and equity webinars. The webinars explore how to utilize the full-service community school approach, both in policy and in practice. In addition, these webinars also discuss methods of closing the equity and opportunity gaps for all children.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Applications Due May 20, 2015

On March 16, 2015, the US Department of Agriculture released the Fiscal Year 2016 Farm to School Grant Applications. The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Offers Strategies for Starting or Expanding a Farm to School Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School webinar series will offer helpful guidance on how schools can start or expand their farm to school program in 2015. This 11-part webinar series will help participants develop new strategies for bringing local foods into the lunchroom and will include topics like building a team, menu planning and program sustainability.

Register Now for IEL's March 17 Webinar: My Brother's Keeper and Community Schools

This upcoming webinar will focus on strategies to effectively reach young men of color in community schools through the lens of President Obama's initiative known as My Brother's Keeper. Webinar presenters will also discuss how to leverage community partnerships to address racial and educational disparities.

Mark Your Calendar: March 4th and March 5th Webinars Focus on Rural Education Issues

The Regional Education Laboratories (REL) are presenting webinars which focus on rural education topics. REL Central will present the March 4 Webinar. REL Southwest will host the March 5 Webinar.

Register Now for Feb. 12 Webinar: Rural Challenges and Resources Needed for Dropout Prevention

The high school dropout problem presents unique challenges for rural schools and communities. This Feb. 12 webinar will reveal the severity of the dropout problem in rural America, risk factors for dropping out, and best-practice solutions.

Increasing Early Literacy in Rural Communities

The Rural Trust is a lead partner in a new grant to demonstrate innovative approaches to strengthening literacy among young rural children.

U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights Releases Guidance to Ensure that All Students have Equal Access to Educational Resources

On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights released guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter to ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources. The guidance provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards established by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Register Now for December 10 NCEEP Webinar: Issues, Challenges and Successes for GEAR UP Programs in Rural Areas

Throughout the United States, GEAR UP programs in rural communities face unique challenges trying to facilitate college readiness and access for low-income, first-generation students, ranging from transportation issues, teacher quality and turnover, and inadequate K-12 resources and rigor to lack of post-secondary education and economic development opportunities.

Missouri Expands Concealed Carry in Schools

Missouri joins other states that allow guns in schools.

North Carolina Teacher Policy Debates Move to Budget Process

North Carolina teachers won back some of their tenure protections, but that fight has moved to the state budget process, where several education policies are under debate.

Partnerships, NOT Pushouts: New "Whole-Child" Policy Guide for School Board Members

On April 22, 2014, a new "Whole-Child" policy guide was released which details how school board members can lead the way in securing a high-quality education for each and every student in their district.

Ensuring that High-Poverty Schools are Hunger-Free Through Community Eligibility

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as offered by the National School Lunch Program, provides an alternative approach for offering school meals to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools in low income areas, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals.

CNCS Announces FY 2014 Funding Opportunity for Indian Tribes

With the FY 2014 AmeriCorps Indian Tribes Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, and disaster services in Native American communities.

USDA Farm to School Census Results Released

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities shows promising results. The census indicates that there were over 38,000 schools with 21 million students serving over $350 million in local food in the 2011-2012 school year.

Rural Trust Participates in Pathways to Partnership Bus Tour Across California

Between October 14 and 16, the Rural Trust participated in Pathways to Partnership: Community Schools Strategies in Action, a three-day, statewide bus tour which explored how the community schools strategy is being implemented in California.

Just Released: 2013 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools

The Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is an annual poll that allows educators and policy makers to track public opinion about this nation’s public schools.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress Every Child Deserves a Fully-Prepared Teacher

What kind of teacher would you choose for your own child or grandchild: one who has completed their teacher training, or one who has just begun it? Doesn't every child deserve to have a fully-prepared teacher in the classroom from day one?

Register for Racial Healing Network Regional Calls

The Within Our Lifetime Network invites you to connect with others in your region who are committed to ending the impact of racism in our lifetime. The Within Our Lifetime Network,  which works to promotes racial healing and racial equity, invites you to join one of six scheduled calls in early September.

National Assembly on School-Based Health Care convention set for June 23-26

The National Assembly on School-Based Health Care (NASBHC) will bring together hundreds of providers, administrators, educators, and advocates for their upcoming convention to be held June 23 -26, 2013 in Washington DC.

The Rules We Play By, Part 3: Citizen Action and Research

Local public schools are governed by a variety of rules. But who makes the rules? This segment of “The Rules We Play By” is the third in a series of RPM articles that explore some of the ways public policy affects what’s possible in local schools — and why you should care.

The Rules We Play By

The official rules — at whatever level — set the tone, shape expectations, and govern the ways humans interact.
Date: August 28, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism

North Carolina, Others, Hotly Debate Charter School Rules

North Carolina is just one of the states embroiled in fierce debate, legislative activity, and court involvement over the role of charter schools in the future of public education.

"Moving to Higher Ground" Event Highlights Successes for Rural Schools and Students

The 2012 Vermont Rural Partnership’s annual place-based learning event for members of its network spotlighted youth-led and intergenerational projects that have transformed schools and communities.

Colorado Students Win State Law Reforms of Student Discipline Code

After a two-year effort, student, parent, and community advocates have won major reforms to state laws on school discipline.

Arkansas Rural Advocates Protect Transportation Funding for Districts

Arkansas’ Rural Community Alliance averts a transportation funding loss of over $100K that would have impacted some of the state’s smallest districts.

RCA and Allies Explore New Ways to Build Support for Their Work

Arkansas’ Rural Community Alliance convenes training on foundation-building in Alpena.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Civic Engagement, Community Organizing, Consolidation

School Discipline Reform Underway in Colorado

Student-led efforts have culminated in legislation that would reduce suspensions and expulsions in Colorado.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Discipline, Education Policy and Activism, Youth

Rural Arkansans Bring National Attention to Post Office Closures

Arkansas’s Rural Community Alliance has helped communities across the state fight back against proposals to close their post offices. In the process, the organization has garnered national attention and brought a rural perspective to this important nationwide issue.
Date: January 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Development, Community Organizing

Successful Community School Initiatives Inform New Scaling Up Guide

Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships: The Community Schools Strategy from the Coalition for Community Schools is a guide to help school districts and their public and private community partners organize and mobilize community resources to support student success.
Date: October 06, 2011
Related Categories: Administrator, Community Advocate, What's New
Related Tags: Community Organizing, School-Community Partnerships

Proposed Post Office Closures Fall Hard on Rural Communities

The U.S. Postal Service is studying the closure of more than 4,000 post offices, many in rural communities.

ACE Act Would Ease Title I Inequities

A bill introduced this month in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to alter the Title I formulas that are unfair to students in poorer, smaller school districts.
Date: July 29, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Federal Programs, Formula Fairness Campaign, Title I

Every Child in Every Neighborhood

“Every Child in Every Neighborhood” is a video from the Oakland Unified School District that outlines their efforts to transform that school system into a full-service community school district.

Nominate a Rural Champion of Change

Do you know someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in their rural community? Nominate them to be a Champion of Change.

Save the Date for the 2011 Southeast Regional Rural Summit

The Southeast Regional Rural Summit is set for July 19–20, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, School Location, Updates

Urban Consolidations Raise Issues Similar to Rural Consolidations

Many urban districts around the nation are proposing school closures, prompted, in part, by school "reform" and turnaround initiatives and by budgetary woes. The issues and community responses bear striking similarity to those in rural areas. 

Save the Date for the 2011 Southeast Regional Rural Summit

Save the date for a regional rural summit.

Rural North Carolinians Address Important Education Policies

Punitive and unequal disciplinary policies and funding inequities are just two of the public policies that the North Carolina Rural Education Working Group addresses. This month the group held a conference to draw attention to the issues and to their work.

Gang Activity Policies Addressed by Courts

Many schools have used alleged gang activity as a reason for suspending or expelling students. But in many cases schools are not clear on what constitutes gang activity. Recently court decisions have found that schools must clarify their gang activity policies.
Date: February 24, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: African-American students, Community Organizing, Discipline

Mississippi Communities Pushing Hard to Protect School Funding

Efforts of public education supporters to protect school funding are showing signs of success.

The Rural Solution: How Community Schools Can Reinvigorate Rural Education

Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust and director of the Trust's Capacity Building Program, explains the value of full-service community schools in rural areas in this report from the Center for American Progress.

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.

Rural Trust Wishes Harrison Well in New Position

Lynnette Harrison, member of Rural Trust’s Field Services staff, has taken a new position…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism, RT Policy Department

Community Center Seeks to Re-Knit Divided Community

A small community pressured by economic hardship, a monolithic corporate presence, disaster, and international energy demands tries to find ways for local residents to reconnect to their own cultural inheritance and to each other.

Arkansas Groups Gear Up for Action on Formula Fairness Campaign

Two rural education advocacy groups held leadership gatherings in Arkansas this month. Both included a focus on bringing fairness to the Title I funding formulas.

Expanding Your Borders, or: How to Grow Your Organization's Membership

Anyone looking to accomplish something knows they need allies. Here’s how one grassroots group reached out to find people who share their values and their mission
Date: June 28, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing

Growing Your Membership: In a Nutshell

The RPM summary of how to create a successful membership drive.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing

Arkansas Cases Challenge School and District Consolidation

A rural school and a rural school district have each lost court cases challenging their consolidation, but there may be a glimmer of hope in the rulings.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Consolidation, School Location

RSFN Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Part II in an ongoing series of articles about what makes a school funding system work for rural schools.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding

Arkansas Community Revitalization Efforts Share Great Approaches

Five rural Arkansas communities are partnering with the Rural Community Alliance on community revitalization initiatives to strengthen their communities, grow their economies, and support educational opportunity. What they are doing and learning has much to offer other rural communities dealing with declining enrollment and the erosion of jobs and economic opportunity…

Save Alabama's Small Schools Hosts Statewide Meeting

SASS conference draws attention for important issues…
Date: April 29, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism

Big Congrats to Arkansas's Rural Community Alliance

The Rural Community Alliance continues to engage more rural residents in its important work…
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Education Policy and Activism

Rural North Carolinians Raise Essential Issues with Secretary Duncan

Members of the North Carolina Rural Education Working Group put some tough questions to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about education in rural areas…

New Name, Expanded Mission for Arkansas's ACRE

A venerable rural education advocacy group is expanding its mission and working to claim a better future with more opportunities for all of rural Arkansas…

Healthy Rural Schools, Healthy Rural Communities: 2009 REWG Brings Rural Education Activists Together

See photos, download session materials, and get the scoop on the 2009 national Rural Education Working Group meeting, held in April in North Carolina.

Give Every Child More than the Best Seat in the House (Chamber)

Rural Trust President Rachel Tompkins helps put the letter of a South Carolina teen in national perspective...

2008 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund For Teachers Grant Recipients

Read about the 2008 Rural School and Community Trust / Fund for Teachers grant recipients, and browse the curriculum they developed with their funds.

Rural South Carolinians Help District Rethink Consolidation

Communities pulled together in South Carolina to stop the closure of their schools…

RSIN Webinar: What Makes a Good Rural High School, Mar. 18, 2009

What Makes a Good Rural High School was the title of the March 2009 Rural School and Community Trust webinar.

Arkansas Communities Forge Revitalization Process

Three very different rural communities in Arkansas are partnering with the statewide rural education group ACRE to improve the economies, quality of life, and future prospects of their places. Read about what they have discovered is essential to the process…

Rural Education Working Group 2009: "Healthy Rural Schools, Healthy Rural Communities"

You are invited to share and learn at the eighth annual Rural Education Working Group meeting of rural activists from across the United States gathered at Kanuga Conference Center in the beautiful North Carolina mountains near Hendersonville, NC, April 19-21, 2009.

Invitation to Join

An Invitation from the Director

Help Shape the National Rural Education Policy Agenda

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

Infusing Heritage and Connectedness in Academic Support in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a committed community group is making a difference for young people and the whole community...

2009 REWG: Make Your Plans

The North Carolina state Rural Education Working Group is hosting the 8th annual REWG meeting in April. Members describe why the meeting is important to them...

RSIN Webinar: School Consolidation, October 22, 2008

School Consolidation was the topic of the October 2009 Rural School Innovation Network webinar. Across the nation, states are considering arguments for and against school closures.

Review: “Democracy at Risk: The Need for a New Federal Policy in Education,” The Forum for Education and Democracy, April 2008

The relatively low international ranking of U.S. educational achievement and attainment is the stuff of numerous reports...

RSIN Webinar: Engaging Communities to Help Every Child Succeed, May 29, 2008

Learn how local groups have engaged large numbers of citizens and organizations and partnered with schools to institute strong, in-school and out-of-school programs to ensure the success of every child.

From Talk to Action: Warren County's Community Action Plan

From Talk to ActionFrom Talk to Action is a report on Warren County, North Carolina's action plan to ensure that all of its children and youth succeed and thrive.

RSIN Quarterly: Case Studies of Successful Practices

Noble High School RSIN Case StudyIn the fall of 2001, in North Berwick, ME, Noble High School students moved into a state-of-the art school facility designed by educators and community members to be a community center for the three rural towns it serves.

RSIN Webinar: Student Engagement and Revitalizing Communities through Place Based Learning, April 29, 2008

Review strategies and successful examples for engaging disenfranchised students through Place-Based Learning and how your community can institute changes for revitalization activities.

RSIN Webinar: Title I Funding Formula Issues Affecting Rural Districts, March 26, 2008

Review of the current formula and its bias against small districts.

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.

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. "

Mississippi Parents and Students Hold Public Schools Accountable

Indianola, Mississippi is one of those places where parents and students in public school must work hard, continuously, to push the schools to educate students and to hold the schools accountable to the people they are supposed to serve.

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.

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.

How to Know if Your School or District is Threatened with Consolidation—and What to Do About It

Participants at a workshop at the Rural Education Working Group conference in Charleston, West Virginia, April 1–3, talked about how to anticipate a threat to consolidate your school before it is too late to stop it, and what to do about it. Here are just some of the notes from workshop leader Robin Lambert, a consultant to the Rural Trust, with a few ideas added later.
Date: July 01, 2005
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Consolidation, Education Policy and Activism

The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America

The Role of EducationThis special report issued in partnership with the USDA Economic Research Service and the Rural Trust explores the connections between rural education and local community well-being. The report includes three sections: Education, Human Capital, and the Local Economy; Links between Rural Schools and Communities; and Creating Successful Rural Schools and Students. Each section includes several articles and provides descriptive information, research data, and examples of promising programs.

National Study Links Small Schools and Higher Achievement

A major study by rural education researchers Craig and Aimee Howley addresses the vexing problem of how individual students of various income levels fare in larger and smaller schools nationwide. It is the strongest evidence to date that small schools are better for low income children.

Parent Participation, School Accountability & Rural Education: The Impact of KERA on Kentucky School Facilities Policy

This report discusses particular forms of parent involvement and democratic empowerment now partially restored in the state of Kentucky which have become engendered as a result of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act (KERA) of 1990, a landmark attempt to reduce inequity statewide.