Pre-Conference: November 15, 1:00–4:00 P.M.
Raising Rural: Policy, Practice, and Research

  • Do you use data to inform educational strategy, instructional practices, or policy decisions?
  • Are you seeking to make data more meaningful and actionable for your stakeholders—educators, families, community leaders, policymakers, etc.?
  • Are you seeking to connect data and information to tell a story about your strategic vision, priorities, and impact?

If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, you should plan to attend the 2023 Raising Rural: Policy, Practice, and Research Pre-Conference. The National Rural Education Association is proud to present this new pre-conference to explore components of NREA’s rural research agenda and highlight impactful programs in education and our communities.

Whether you’re a rural administrator or educator, a research, policymaker, business or community leader, this event is designed for anyone seeking to make research and data more relevant, accessible, and actionable for their stakeholders.

General Session, 1:00–2:30 P.M.

Closing the Research-Practice Gap: How Do We Make Research and Data Relevant, Accessible, and Actionable?

Being able to understand, translate, and tell a story with data and research is a valuable and necessary skill—particularly to clearly understand the issues, barriers, and opportunities confronting rural education and rural communities.

Hear from researchers and education leaders from across the country who will discuss how to make research and data more relevant, accessible, and actionable for rural practitioners, communities, and policy makers. Panelists will examine NREA’s 2022–2027 Rural Research Agenda and explore:

  • Research-practice partnerships (RPPs) and what they look like in a rural context.
  • The conditions to develop rural RPPs.
  • How equity plays a role in research collaboration.
  • How to utilize research and data to tell stories that address the questions practitioners, state education agencies, and policy makers have about their students, schools, and communities.

Jennifer Ash: Director, National Center for Rural Education Research Networks, Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University
Cat Biddle: Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Maine
Loni Crumb: Associate Professor, Counselor Education Program, East Carolina University
Annah Rogers: GRAD Partnership Lead, The University of West Alabama
Susan Schroth: Operations Director, North State Together

Moderator: Taylor McCabe-Juhnke: Executive Director, Rural Schools Collaborative

Learning Sessions, 2:40–3:10 P.M. & 3:20–3:50 P.M.

Rural Student Success: A Collaborative Approach

Presenters: Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, Rural Schools Collaborative; Susan Schroth, North State Together; Annah Rogers, The University of West Alabama
As part of a new national initiative, The GRAD Partnership for Student Success, Rural Schools Collaborative is working with two regional hub partners, North State Together and University of West Alabama, to launch pilot cohorts of participating schools in California and Alabama. The 20 diverse rural schools received a matched support grant and technical assistance to implement new student success systems to help rural students reach on time graduation. Student success systems use research-based data and indicator frameworks to help address pandemic learning loss and support a holistic student-centered learning approach. Hear about the first year of the pilot project and explore best practices for creating high quality student success systems in rural schools.

Why Are Registered Apprenticeships in Teaching Spreading Across the Country?

Presenters: David Donaldson, National Center for Grow Your Own; Laurie Matzke, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
The U.S. Department of Labor approved the occupation of K–12 teacher as eligible for registered apprenticeship in November 2021 with the first program approved in January 2022. Fast forward one year, and registered apprenticeships were in 16 states as of January 2023. With national attention focused on registered apprenticeships to address the teacher shortage crisis, learn more about the spread of programs.

S.M.A.R.T. Method for Effective Partnerships in Service with Rural Communities

Presenters: Rebecca Houston, Patricia Hopkins, and Nichelle Shuck, CARE Corps, Rural Education Institute East Carolina University
Learn more about the AmeriCorps program at East Carolina University, Collaborative Action in Rural Education (CARE) Corps. The program’s goal is to create equitable, resilient spaces in schools and communities through partnerships and service pathways of tutoring, teaching, and mental health support within rural communities. The program’s goal is to engage over 98 AmeriCorps members in service to over 4,000 youth in Eastern North Carolina. Receive an overview of how program staff use the S.M.A.R.T framework to develop partnerships and engage members in national service. Hear about implementation lessons from year one of CARE Corps service curriculum and how they will build on future forums that will focus on the rural cultural wealth framework, equity, and resilience for AmeriCorps volunteers serving in Eastern North Carolina.

Still Leading Rural: Listening Some More

Presenters: Sarrah Grubb, Indiana University Kokomo; Jim LaPrad, Western Illinois University
In light of our role as the EDIT committee focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion, and knowing that school administrators as practitioners have met many challenges over the course of the past two years, we are hosting as co-participants this listening session to inform not only the NREA EDIT team’s charge, but all session participants regarding how rural leaders characterize the important work that needs to be done.

NCES EDGE: Advancing the Social and Spatial Context of Education

Presenters: Doug Geverdt and Annie Maselli, Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Are you interested in using social and spatial data in your practice and/or research? Location is a fundamental dimension of education in the U.S., so the National Center for Education Statistics’ Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (NCES EDGE) program designs resources about the social and spatial context of education to help better understand educational inputs, processes, and outcomes. This presentation will provide an introduction to the EDGE program and its demographic, geographic, and economic data collection. If you’d like to learn more about federal education data resources for local schools and school districts, and more about using maps to visualize spatial dimensions of educational data, then this is the session for you. Questions are welcomed and attendees are encouraged to follow along with free, web-based examples and GIS tools.

Responding to Spatial Equity Challenges Through Rural Innovations

Presenters: Erin McHenry-Sorber, West Virginia University; Catharine Biddle, University of Maine; Sara Hartman, Ohio University; Kessa Roberts, Utah State University; Sarah Schmitt-Wilson, Montana State University; Pamela Buffington, Education Development Center
Spatial equity is a central challenge highlighted in NREA’s Research Agenda; however, the use of this term is relatively new to rural education. Learn about spatial in/equity and how it affects the practice of rural teachers and educational leaders. Examine spatial equity challenges raised through the development of NREA’s 2022–2027 Rural Research Agenda. Learn about innovative responses to spatial in/equity across rural schools, and engage in a conversation about spatial equity challenges and how to develop plans to address them in collaborative working groups.

FY 2023 Updates from the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP)

Presenters: Leslie Poynter, Group Leader, Rural Education Achievement Program; Staci Cummins, Program Officer, Rural Education Achievement Program
The U.S. Department of Education’s (Department’s) Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) will provide an overview of the annual grant program for rural schools, a summary of the fiscal year (FY) 2023 awards, as well as new resources on allowable uses of funds for both school and state grantees. The presentation will also include new data on how rural schools have used REAP funds since 2021, which will provide insight into the needs and priorities of small, rural schools across the country. The presentation will also include time to ask questions and engage with Department staff and learn about other funding opportunities available from the Department serving rural communities.

Condition of Education in Rural Areas—Data from Education Across America Resource Hub

Presenter: Xiaolei Wang, National Center for Education Statistics
The Education Across America: Cities, Suburbs, Towns, and Rural Areas website is designed for those who are interested in the condition of education in different geographic locales in the United States (i.e., cities, suburbs, towns, and rural areas). This website includes data produced by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that cover all locales. Using data from this resource hub, representative from NCES will present the condition of education in rural areas, and highlight differences in educational experiences and resources, as well as student outcomes, between rural/urban status (i.e., locale). The representative will also explore the resource hub that is available for stakeholders to gather data important to them and their communities.