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.
The nation’s first rural Promise Neighborhood is entering its third year. In this issue of RPM
we talk with some of its staff and hear about approaches, emerging successes, and opportunities.
With 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.