REWG 2008: Workshops With Links to Selected Materials

Last Updated: July 01, 2008

The 2008 Rural Education Working Group (REWG) conference featured 19 different workshops. Many of those workshops included PowerPoints and hand-outs that are available here. Look for more features in upcoming editions of RPM.
Changing Demographics of Rural Schools
Rural schools are serving more and more students of different backgrounds every day, and these new faces pose new challenges for community groups, teachers, and school leadership as they work to ensure equal educational opportunities for all. With a special emphasis on the largest migrant groups, we will look at an overview of how states are dealing with ESL and bilingual education, discuss best policy practices including school finance issues, and begin the discussion of how to include these students in your school improvement agenda.
Presenter: Amanda Adler, Rural Trust Staff
Connecting School and Community, Part I
Northeastern North Carolina is a hard place. Shifting economies, historic divides, persistent isolation and civic apathy all contribute to the challenge of building and sustaining effective relationships and supports for child and family success. Hear from community-based organizations how they have built the relationships and instituted programs to address success-oriented needs of the most vulnerable children and young adults.
Panelists: Lenora Jarvis-Mackey, Frank Hendrick, and Anthony Clark; Moderator, Jereann King Johnson, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view the PowerPoint. Note: This PowerPoint covers Parts I and II of Connecting School and Community.
Connecting School and Community, Part II
Community dialogue is a powerful tool for bringing about change in rural communities. In this interactive session, participants will learn how community groups have used community-wide dialogues to engage large numbers of people in visioning, planning, and implementing actions to institute changes in policies and practice to ensure that every child thrives.
Presenters: Jereann King Johnson, Rural Trust Staff with Angie Wills, Dennis Gayles, Arvella Scott, and Earlean Henderson
Click here to view the PowerPoint. Please note: This is the same PowerPoint as Part I of Connecting School and Community.
Data: Where to Find It and How to Use It
This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to publicly available data for describing schools and communities. Participants will have the opportunity to view achievement, financial, personnel, and demographic information for their school/school district, as well as various measures of community well-being. A facilitated discussion will explore strategies for using data in organizing and policy work.
Presenters: Jerry Johnson and Robin Lambert, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view Jerry Johnson’s website for data resources used in this session.
Engaged Institutions: Partnering for Transformation in Rural Places
Change falls hard on rural places. Most often it is imposed from the outside and accompanied by consequences that are less than beneficial to local people. Explore how university-school-community partnerships can support place-based learning and transform relations while simultaneously improving student outcomes and revitalizing communities.
Presenter: Doris Williams, Director of the Capacity Building Program, Rural Trust
Click here to view the PowerPoint.
Financing Rural Schools: The Top Ten Things You Can Do to Improve Your State's Funding System
Although every state's school finance system is unique, one common characteristic is that they are consistently on policymakers' agendas. When your state says it is going to study, update, overhaul, or merely "tweak" its system, what does that mean for rural schools? This workshop will present a list of key topics and concepts so you can prepare to participate in these discussions. Subjects will include basic principles of school finance that are common to all systems, discussion of special populations and their finance needs, and how to analyze school finance 'events' such as adequacy studies and lawsuits.
Presenter: Amanda Adler, Rural Trust Staff
Grow Your Own: A Model for Developing High Quality Teachers and Administrators
This session will introduce participants to programs designed to build teaching and leadership capacity among community residents, particularly for schools facing challenges in recruiting and retaining high quality teachers and administrators. “Grow Your Own” programs are an effective strategy for developing school professionals who reflect the demographics of the community, with the ultimate goal of creating an educational system that is sensitive to the needs of all students.
Facilitators: Jerry Johnson, Rural Trust Staff and Jack Herlihy of Eastern Kentucky University
Click here to view the PowerPoint.
Helping Those Who Have Helped
This session will detail the origin of student-led tax centers in Louisiana. An overview will outline the beginning of this poverty reduction strategy and why it is an important endeavor in a rural community. Demographic data will be shared to give a picture of the locations of the current tax sites in the state that might mirror your rural community. You will also have an opportunity to see how the school was connected to the community to get this project started as well as some ideas on asset development. We will share a Financial Literacy Curriculum as well as tools to open an IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site in your rural place. Lastly, you will have an opportunity to brainstorm how to share financial information to the most vulnerable in your community.
Presenters: Veniayetta Aikens, Rural Trust Staff and Cedric Bobo, Marlon Stewart, Kristen Smith, Kirsten Johnson, Amber Cambre, Kayla York, Courtney Joseph, students at East Iberville High School in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, and Tracy Martin, teacher at East Iberville High School
Inside the Title I Formula
Learn how the funding formula works? How small rural districts get denied their fair share. How it should be changed.
Presenter: Marty Strange, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view the PowerPoint.
Is It Really About Me?
We hear the phrase, "We want to do what is best for our young people", but is it really true? Youth are facing challenges like never before in our education system. If youth could articulate what they feel, they could make positive changes in the education system. What would the conversation be like? Join us as we discover experiences unique to youth and what would they do to impact change in an ever-changing environment.
Facilitators: Lynnette Harrison and Veniayetta Aikens, Rural Trust Staff
Models for Rural Education Organizing
Join leaders from North Carolina, Arkansas and West Virginia to learn how they are doing organizing in their local communities and how they formed statewide networks to become a strong voice for the needs of rural schools and communities. We will explore why they got started, how they laid the groundwork and how they keep their volunteer groups strong now. Here about victories along the way! Especially for REWG newcomers.
Presenters: Page McCullough, Rural Trust Staff; Marvis Henderson-Daye, Lift Every Voice Institute and the NC Rural Education Working Group; Thomas Ramey, Challenge West Virginia; and Dorothy Singleton, Arkansas Advocates for Community and Rural Education (ACRE)
Click here to view the ACRE handout.
Click here to view the Challenge West Virginia handout.
Click here to view the Lift Every Voice Institute handout.
Click here to view the North Carolina overview handout.
Place-Based Learning: An Overview/Engaging Students and Revitalizing Communities through Place-Based Learning (PBL)
In this session we will share an overview powerpoint on the promise and potential of PBL. We will share strategies for engaging disenfranchised students through PBL. You will hear how your community can institute changes for revitalization activities and you will be exposed to examples from places around the country that have developed effective PBL programs. Additionally there will be time for your questions.
After this session there will be three additional workshops that will expand on the themes of this workshop: sharing introductory strategies, an example of a program in action, and advanced PBL work. (These workshops can be taken without attending this introductory session.)
Presenters: Margaret MacLean, Julie Bartsch, and Veniayetta Atkins, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view the PowerPoint.
Principles and Promising Practices of Place-Based Learning
“What is Place-Based Learning?” “Where do I start?” “How do I build on what is already in place to make Place-Based Learning sustainable?” In this session we will become grounded in the basic principles of place-based education, we will discuss effective start-up strategies; practical methods to build a community network and nurture a student’s sense of place; we will discuss how to build relationships between your school or organization and community; and methods for accessing local resources. We will gain insight from Place-Based work taking place around the country. This session is a primer and skill builder! Bring your questions!
Presenter: Margaret MacLean, Rural Trust Staff
Place-Based Learning’s Power to Engage At-Risk Youth, Transform Schools, Revitalize Communities
Research shows that place-based learning that engages students in addressing important community priorities dramatically changes the interface between schools, communities and youth. What steps are needed to create a sustainable PBL initiative? This workshop will focus on the characteristics and processes that span successful programs in different rural communities. Participants will leave with strategies to expand programs that address their respective agendas such as dropout prevention, student achievement, literacy and technology skill acquisition, staff development, community-school partnerships, and community/economic renewal.
Presenter: Julie Bartsch, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view the handout: Action Plan Template.
Click here to view the handout: Place-Based Assessment Quick Reference Guide.
Policy Change with Decision Makers
This workshop will explore the successes and barriers in dealing with decision makers at the state level. Join leaders from Alabama, South Carolina, and West Virginia as they discuss different stages and approaches that they have used while influencing policy over time.
Presenters: Lynnette Harrison, Rural Trust Staff with leaders from Save Alabama’s Small Schools, South Carolina Rural Education Grassroots Group, and Challenge West Virginia
Roundtable: School Boards, Superintendents and Community Members--Working Together to Improve the School and the Community
When a school board, superintendent and community work together in positive ways, good things happen for the community and the students. But often, the school board doesn't take the initiative, the superintendent has his/her agenda, and community people can't get answers or participate in meaningful ways. Join us for this very powerful discussion to talk about these dynamics and how they can be addressed for student and community growth and share with us how students can benefit when everyone works towards the same goals.
Presenter: Daisy Slan, former school superintendent and Rural Trust Consultant
The “Rural 800”
The 800 rural districts with the highest poverty rates are distributed among 39 states but heavily concentrated in just 16. Find out where they are, how many children they serve, how they are denied their fair share of Title I funding, and whether your district is one of them. Many will be shocked to find out how they compare with the nation’s poorest inner city districts.
Presenter: Marty Strange, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view the PowerPoint.
Strategic Planning for a Strong Organization
Strong organizations remain vital and relevant by continually assessing their victories, struggles, and the context in which they work. After stopping most proposed consolidation in AR and gaining considerable increases in resources for the schools, what is Arkansas Advocates for Community and Rural Education (ACRE) going to do next? In this workshop you will learn how ACRE has done strategic planning involving hundreds of members. Learn about new directions, such as doing community revitalization and how to do fundraising.
Presenter: Lavina Grandon and members of ACRE
Click here to view the handout: The Why and How of Strategic Planning.
Click here for Workshop Participant Ideas for Strategic Planning and Fund-Raising.
Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth
Why Rural Matters 2007 is the fourth in a series of reports that analyze the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calls attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education. This session will offer an overview of the report’s findings, with plenty of time for questions and answers and discussion about how to use the report for organizing and policy work.
Presenter: Jerry Johnson, Rural Trust Staff
Click here to view the PowerPoint.