Rural Trust Holds Place-Based Learning Workshops for Rural Elementary Schools in Georgia and South Carolina

Last Updated: October 10, 2013

North Mitchell County Elementary School is using their grant funds to initiate a health and fitness project. D. P. Cooper Elementary School will use their grant funds to purchase Chromebooks - wi-fi enabled laptops - for every classroom. The Rural Trust's Place-Based Learning workshops provide vital support to school staff in their efforts to integrate their School Fund projects with ongoing work and to identify community-based learning resources and connect students' academic assignments to meaningful outcomes in the community.

North Mitchell County Elementary School is located in the rural community of Baconton, GA, near the southwestern corner of Georgia. The small rural community of Baconton has a population of about 915 (U.S. 2010 Census). Approximately thirty-five North Mitchell County ES staff attended the July PBL Institute. The focus of the summer institute was on the vital role that agriculture plays in Baconton's economic and community development. Many crops and products are important to the local community, including pecans, peanuts, pine trees, poultry, cotton, cattle, and vegetables. A focal point of the PBL workshop was how to communicate the rich agricultural history to students from an early age and thereby enable them to identify a successful career path and a niche for themselves within their small, rural community.

D.P. Cooper Elementary School is located in the Low Country of South Carolina - about a 2-hour drive from Myrtle Beach. The rural community of Salters has a population of 3,677 (U.S. 2010 Census). The August PBL workshop focused on how students could use the wi-fi enabled laptops to conduct research on local soil, plant and animal life. The students’ research could be used to develop strategies for protecting local wildlife and also for addressing issues of animal overpopulation. Participants were asked to bring in artifacts which reflect their community’s heritage. D.P. Cooper staff brought in sweetgrass coiled baskets, cotton plants, and various renderings of "live oak" trees which remain a part of Salters’ unique cultural heritage.

Place-Based Learning is rooted in the unique history, culture, environment and economy of a particular place. The community provides a context for learning, student work focuses on community needs and interests, and community members serve as resources and partners in every aspect of teaching and learning. The local focus has the power to engage students academically, pairing relevance with rigor, while opening windows to the world and promoting genuine citizenship. Rural Trust project trainer, Jereann King Johnson describes how rural schools and communities can benefit from Place-Based Learning as follows, "The school becomes a partner in community development and the community partners in enhancing the learning experience for the school’s students. Involving young people in place-based learning is critical in creating and maintaining thriving rural communities."

If you would like to learn more about the Rural Trust’s professional Place-Based Learning workshops or other professional development services, please send an email to

To learn more about Place-Based Learning, please visit: Place-Based Learning Offers Opportunities for High-Poverty Rural Schools

Additional Place-Based Learning resources, may be found at: Student Engagement and Revitalizing Communities Through Place-Based Learning

For more information on the impact of Place-Based Learning on Native Student Achievement, please go to:

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

To learn more about the 2013 Leonore Annenberg School Fund grant recipients, please visit :

2013 Rural Grant Recipients, Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children