Rural Stakeholders to Discuss Implementation of Common Core Standards

Last Updated: May 30, 2012

This article appeared in the May 2012 Rural Policy Matters.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to our colleagues at SCORE for providing this article on the upcoming convening. Links are free and current at time of posting, but may require registration or expire over time.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), launched the Rural Education Network, a group of leaders from throughout Tennessee and the nation that is committed to improving public education in rural communities. The Network helps identify, spread, and share best practices in rural education, fosters learning among network members, and provides SCORE with policy direction on rural education issues. The Rural School and Community Trust is a founding member of the Network.

“We can’t ignore students in our rural communities,” said Jamie Woodson, President and CEO of SCORE. “In Tennessee, four out of 10 students attend school in a rural district, a number that is growing faster than in any other state. These communities face unique educational challenges, from lower college-going and completion rates to higher poverty rates and household mobility. The Rural Network will be critical in driving student success in rural schools.”

Since the Network was founded in March, the group has already been active in providing SCORE with policy direction, including on its 2012 annual priorities and in a feedback process the organization is conducting for Tennessee on the state’s new teacher evaluation system. Members have also authored blog posts on effective rural practices, including ways to highlight the importance of obtaining education after high school.

“Rural communities often have fewer opportunities to share what’s working and collaborate to solve problems,” said Jason Vance, Superintendent of Loudon County Schools (TN) and a Network member. “The members of this network are doing innovative work to improve student achievement despite the challenges they face and we will be using this opportunity to learn from one another.”

On June 14, the Network will be hosting its first in-person convening in Nashville that is focused on achieving two goals: providing participants with the opportunity to learn more about the implementation of Common Core State Standards in partner states and learning from participants about the unique challenges and opportunities they face in implementing the standards in rural communities. The Network will be joined by education leaders from throughout Tennessee and around the country who will highlight their promising practices and the challenges they face as they implement the Common Core. Throughout the day, these leaders will work with the Network to identify innovative approaches, regional collaborations, and possible resources that are available to meet implementation challenges.

“As states continue the important work of implementing the Common Core standards, learning from our neighbors about challenges and innovative solutions will be crucial to ensuring that schools and districts have the supports they need to effectively implement the new standards — particularly in our rural communities,” said David Cook, Director of Innovation and Partner Engagement for the Kentucky Department of Education.

After the convening, the Network will continue to find ways to share key takeaways with a broader audience of rural educators and community members in Tennessee and beyond.

The creation of the Rural Education Network follows the Southeast Regional Rural Education Summit, held in Nashville in July 2011, which attracted more than 500 educators, policymakers, and community leaders from 19 states.

Read more:

The Rural Education Network website:

Read more about last year’s Southeast Regional Rural Education Summit here:

Read more from the May 2012 Rural Policy Matters.