NREA Weekly Updates: Feb. 12th, 2021

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COVID Latest Survey & CDC Guidance Released Today
RSC/NREA: Pandemic-related Teacher Retirements
RSC/NREA: Pandemic-related Teacher Retirements
As we continue to sort out the impact Covid-19 has on every aspect of our work, the effect of the pandemic on the ongoing and persistent rural teacher shortage has the potential to greatly redefine the way in which we work. Determining the perceived influence of the pandemic in teacher retention will allow us to better serve rural schools and teachers.

This survey is designed to assess the perceptions school leaders, teacher educators, and rural school advocates have toward pandemic-related teacher retirements and retention issues. We want to garner an early sense of how the rural teacher shortage is being affected by Covid-19. Through the responses gathered from this survey, we will be able to shape our services and resources going forward in a way informed to the changing realities on the ground.

On behalf of the National Rural Education Association and the Rural Schools Collaborative, thank you for participating in an exploratory survey. The responses collected from this effort will be combined into a report detailing the perceptions of individuals in the education field about the direct impact of Covid-19 on rural teacher retirement and retention. All responses will be kept anonymous and presented in aggregate.
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Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation
Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation
K–12 schools should be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures in the community have been employed, and the first to reopen when they can do so safely. Many K-12 schools that have implemented mitigation strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open. This operational strategy presents a pathway to reopen schools and help them remain open through consistent use of mitigation strategies, especially universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.
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February marks Black History Month, and storytime is just one of the many occasions when you can teach your kids about the accomplishments of black pioneers and trailblazers.
Children’s books are famously bad at embracing diversity. In 2016, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that out of 3,400 kids’ books, fewer than one-quarter of them featured a main character who was black, Asian, Latino, or Native American. So it’s vital that parents share the books that are available with their kids.
Luckily, there are many helpful resources putting these titles within close reach. For Black History Month, Lee & Low Books, a multicultural children’s book publisher, offers helpful book recommendations. Every day in February, The Brown Bookshelf highlights a different black author or illustrator and their work. Helping Kids Rise also participates in a #ReadingBlackout (an initiative to read books by black authors) at the encouragement of YouTuber Denise Cooper.
With suggestions from the organizations above, plus some others, we put together a list of kids’ books by black authors, about black figures or focused on black culture.
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Lee Shilts, Red Bluff, CA Working Together for Social Justice:
Lee Shilts, Red Bluff, CA Working Together for Social Justice:
his is the second monthly feature in our Cultivating Community series, where rural classroom teachers nominate school district policy actions that have made a difference in their community. Our first feature was Cusseta, Georgia, and this month's highlight is from Red Bluff, California. Lee Shilts was the nominating teacher and will receive a $250 dollar classroom grant!
RSC's John Glasgow coordinates this program and is the author of this article. The Cultivating Community project is part of the I Am a Rural Teacher campaign.

In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) people across the country, calls were raised again to combat the persistent racist policies and behaviors that have plagued our communities for far too long. While major urban centers throughout the US drew the attention of media outlets and public officials, similar movements for justice and equality were also germinating in small towns across our rural landscape. These ongoing fights for justice in rural places often go unacknowledged in comparison to their larger and louder companion movements in cities. However, rural America is incredibly diverse, if not increasingly so, and a growing number of grassroots organizations are collaborating with local governments, and schools, to let that diversity shine and thrive.
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The final deadline for Free Books For Read Across America Day is extended to February 18th, 2021.

The Literacy Empowerment Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, invites your school or other literacy projects to apply for FREE books for Read Across America Dayor other literacy events. During the past year, LEF has distributed over 3,000,000 books to schools all across the country for Read Across America Day and other literacy projects.
These books are free. Educators only pay for shipping and handling. Resources are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Orders must be received by February 18th, 2021.
Please share this information with your fellow educators!
Free Books for Read Across America Day: Order Form at
Teaching the Concept of Equity Through Gardening
Teaching the Concept of Equity Through Gardening
Recently, while gardening together, my 5-year-old asked a lot of questions about the needs of different plants. She asked why we didn’t need to water the sunflowers as often as we needed to water the basil and was curious as to why our lettuce did better in the shade. As I explained the answers, I realized that we were talking about how to walk through the garden—and the world—with an awareness of identities and needs.
As an educator, the proverbial light bulb went off above my head: There were parallels between cultivating a garden and cultivating consciousness of the differences between equity and equality... and the traditional science activity of gardening would work as a catalyst for a discussion about similarities and differences among people.
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Rural Teacher Job Postings
Teacher (2021 – 2022 Position)
Campus Description:
San Vicente ISD is located exclusively in the heart of Big Bend National Park at Panther Junction. The park is comprised of 1,252 square miles of land, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island. Within Big Bend National Park are numerous geographical contrasts. Having earned a Dark Skies designation, deep river gorges sparkle down below brilliant rock formations, canyons cut through the isolated Chisos Mountains and the Rio Grande tranquility passes through West Texas all while carrying the secrets of millennia in her waters are what make SVISD in BBNP a wonder.

Our small, rural school is home to a handful of children in grades Pk-8.
Description / Notes:
Primary Purpose:
Provide students with appropriate learning activities and experiences in the core academic subject area assigned to help them fulfill their potential for intellectual, physical, and social growth. Enable students to develop competencies and skills to function successfully in society.

Provide students with appropriate in-person and/or distance/virtual instruction in the academic subject area assigned to help students fulfill their potential for intellectual, physical, and social growth.

Responsibilities: (Not exhaustive)
1. Develop and implement lesson plans through curriculum programs for both in-person and/or distance/virtual instruction.
2. Plan and use appropriate instructional and learning strategies, activities, materials, equipment, technology, and/or resources for both in-person and/or distance/virtual instruction.
3. Work with other members of the staff to determine instructional goals, objectives, and methods according to district requirements.
4. Conduct ongoing assessment of student achievement through formal and informal testing.
Bachelor's Degree from an accredited university
Valid Texas Teaching Certificate with required endorsements or training for subject and level assigned.
Demonstrated competency in the core academic subject area(s) assigned.
At least one year of student teaching or approved internship.
Salary Range:
Above State minimum based on years of experience.
Master's Stipend $1000
Five State personal days per year.
Four local sick days per year.
TRS Active Care HD
$229 / mo contribution to an FSA for FT employees
District housing is available a brisk walk from the school
How to apply:
Send resume, letter of interest, current SBEC certification, and copies of transcripts to Jessi Milam, Superintendent at
Rural Educator Weekly Spotlight:
Addressing Teacher Shortages in Rural America: What Factors Help New Teachers Apply to Teach in Rural Settings?
Addressing Teacher Shortages in Rural America: What Factors Help New Teachers Apply to Teach in Rural Settings?
Teacher shortages in rural areas have become a public crisis. This shortage of key personnel requires stakeholders (higher education, state departments, local school districts) to examine factors that help teacher education students choose to apply to rural settings. The current study examines new teacher candidates’ background, preparation for teaching, and perceptions of protective factors on their decisions to work in rural areas. Data from teacher education students in their residencies from 14 institutions were analyzed. Results suggest that student background, including race, level of education, parent education, and high school location are important. White students, those pursuing undergraduate degrees, those from rural high schools, and students who feel more confident in teaching 21st-century critical thinking skills (e.g., using a variety of perspectives, engaging in self-assessment, teaching critical thinking) are also more likely to consider teaching in rural areas. Results are discussed as they relate to recruitment in rural areas.
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Sharing Information From Our Partners and Sponsors:
If I Had A Hammer believes an inspired child is a teachable child. HammerMath is designed to help students build a deeper understanding of fractions and measurement fundamentals through real-world application. At the core of our curriculum is our patented fraction manipulative, The Big Inch. After learning fractions, students have fun working with area and perimeter through creative, hands-on team assignments. Now, they are ready for architectural design! Students stretch their imagination and dream big by learning how to draw house plans to 1/4" scale and to design their own dream home. HammerMath builds the understanding of critical math concepts preparing K-12 students to adult learners for higher-level mathematics.
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The two-year grant program, offered to students at no cost, provides HBI’s nationally recognized, patented Pre-Apprenticeship Certification Training (PACT) curriculum and industry-recognized certifications to middle school and high school students.
The program is one of only three national curricula recognized and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor and many state departments of education. PACT is designed to be a hands-on, competency-based curriculum and is aligned with the STEM educational model – a curriculum based on discipline areas increasingly prominent in the modern workforce, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The program strengthens connections to local industry through our affiliation and partnership with the National Association of Home Builders and its 700 local and state associations.
Register Your District for the Small & Rural School District 2021 Virtual College Fair!
All small and rural school districts from across the United States are invited to participate in the Small & Rural School District 2021 Virtual College Fair, presented by the Small School Districts' Association (SSDA) of California, National Rural Education Association (NREA), StriveScan and Collegewise. 
Please click here to register your District to participate in the Virtual College Fair. Deadline to Register: THIS FRIDAY, February 12, 2021
The Small & Rural School District 2021 Virtual College Fair will take place Thursday, April 15, 2021, from 8 am-12 noon. There will also be an informational session for parents on the evening of Wednesday, April 14, 2021, from 6-8 pm. 
There is NO COST to register for this event. Registering via this form lets SSDA & NREA know how many Districts are interested. Students will be able to register for the Virtual College Fair starting in March. 
If you have any questions, contact Corrie Pelc @ SSDA,
NREA State Affiliates
NREA Virtual Conference Info
NREA Sponsors & Partners
The Rural Educator
Rural Ed. Instructional Support
NREA Foundation & Research Awards Announcements


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