NREA Weekly Update: February 17, 2023

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The Rural Educator

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Kanesha Adams is a Black Rural Educator in Arkansas and the Founder and CEO of Bearapy: Books, Bears, and Therapy, a grassroots effort Adams created to provide students with essential social-emotional supports and tools. In addition to allowing students to create their own stuffed bear, Bearapy provides students, teachers, and even parents with a digital library of self-published self-care books that focus on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Adams herself authors books to populate the library, recently .

Our partners at Rural Schools Collaborative had the opportunity to connect with Adams for an interview. In addition to sharing about her organization, Kanesha tells about how her experiences growing up rural and becoming an educator inspired her move to create Bearapy.
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In order to dramatically transform the experience of students and what they can achieve, we must do the same for our teachers. Between 2020 and 2022, approximately 300,000 teachers left the profession, leading to an estimated 3% drop in the workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022).  While staffing shortages and a dwindling pipeline are not new phenomena, recent dissatisfaction and resignation trends are shedding more light on the need for change. 

Transcend’s latest resource seeks to answer the question How can we redesign schools not just for greater student learning and happiness, but also for greater teacher satisfaction? It aims to help schools and districts rise to the challenges of this moment and make meaningful changes to the teaching profession in ways that support existing talent and attract a new generation of educators to the profession while also fueling student learning. This resource serves as a companion to outstanding work taking place throughout the field, including Bellwether's recent toolkit for , Educators for Excellence’s and TNTP’s framework on .

Whether you are in need of some immediate triage, some meaningful tinkering, or a radical transformation of the role of teachers in your organization, this resource can support you. 

Visit  to mix and match strategies for real change in your school today. 

For media inquiries or other questions related to this initiative, please contact Communications Partner, Mika Rao at 
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The purpose of school is to scholars and citizens: It’s where we publish, play and produce portfolios. Today, learning is everywhere, so the purpose of school is bigger than ever. Meanwhile, software vendors, administrators, even parents have delegated too much responsibility for students' learning experiences to systems and tools that are alienating learners. Previous 1-to-1 technology initiatives focused on putting a machine in every student's hands only to see students submit assignments to digital folders that no one ever sees again. At Fanschool, students own and share their learning.

Fanschool is a safe and social learning network. It’s where young people build lifelong learning blogs by actively engaging in reading and writing. It’s how teachers help students produce portfolios through publishing and play. It’s how parents can support the construction of their child’s learning scrapbook.

Fanschool effectively gives all 7-17 year olds the power to have a voice and choice. As lifelong students, parents, and teachers ourselves, we know that to learn, students need to do something. Fanschool’s profile of a learner enables real-world, action-oriented learning, creating ownership for young people.
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