There is ample anecdotal evidence that the stresses of teaching in the Covid-19 environment are leading to larger than usual numbers of teachers exploring and taking their retirement options. The National Rural Education Association and Rural Schools Collaborative recently surveyed 100 rural school leaders, teacher educators, and community advocates in an effort to assess their perceptions on how Covid-19 could impact the ongoing rural teacher shortage and rural teacher retention. This informal exploratory survey specifically asked how Covid-19-related teacher retirements might ultimately affect the rural teaching workforce.
Although this is a relatively small sample, it is apparent that there is a growing concern about a possible wave of rural teacher retirements. These concerns would suggest that a surge in teacher retirements due to Covid-19 has the potential to exacerbate an already troubling rural teacher shortage.
The Return to Learn Tracker (R2L) is a tool developed by the American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) Education Policy Studies department, in partnership with The College Crisis Initiative (C2i) of Davidson College, that captures how US public school districts' instructional models change during the coronavirus pandemic. The tracker conducts original data collection examining which schools are offering fully in-person, hybrid, and fully remote instruction and analyzes instructional status across various district and county demographics.
Our goal is to provide a fundamental, up-to-date baseline of school districts' current reopening plans and how they change during the COVID-19 crisis. This tracker categorizes instructional models for about 8,500 school districts nationwide and regularly monitors how each district changes between categories. Accessible, accurate knowledge of districts' plans is foundational for developing strategies of how to best respond to the pandemic. We hope these data will serve school communities as they face ongoing decisions, provide the basic knowledge necessary for shaping policy across states, and allow other researchers to more accurately study how COVID-19 is upending and changing schools.
|Rural Educator Weekly Spotlight:|
Professor Devon Brenner of Mississippi State and her co-authors Ann Schulte and Amy Price Azano discuss the landscape of rural education… where rural teachers and students are and what they need today.
Anastasia sleeps on her friend’s couch and borrows her friend’s clothes to wear to school. Her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house after a fight that turned physical. She’s unsure where her mom is staying, but her mom assures Anastasia that she’s fine.
Diego lives with his parents and his dog in a bedroom illegally subleased to them by other renters after his parents lost their suburban home due to a job layoff and illness. He hides his dog when the landlord comes around because pets are not allowed.
Fredrick lives with his two brothers, one sister, and mom in a motel room after a bad storm three months ago made their old house unlivable. He attends high school in a different school district because the storm also destroyed his old school. Fredrick worries about what will happen to his family because his mom’s place of work has not reopened following the storm.*
Scholarship, Teacher of the Year, Superintendent of the Year Applications Due
Apr 9 - ALL DAY
165 Castleberry Dr, Conway, AR 72034, USA
See website for applications
AREA Board Meeting and Scholarship Selection
Apr 16 - ALL DAY
AAEA -- Arkansas Association of Educational
Administrators, 219 S Victory St, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA
AREA Summer Conference
Jul 11 to Jul 14 - ALL DAY
DoubleTree by Hilton Hot Springs, 4813 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71913, USA
See registration on the website
AREA Fall Conference
Sep 27 to Sep 28 - ALL DAY
DoubleTree by Hilton Hot Springs, 4813 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71913, USA
RSAI was formed in 2014 as a membership organization with a mission to advocate for students in rural schools to assure a fair, equal, and quality education. RSAI consists of four regions in the state, used as the basis to form an elected leadership structure consisting of four regional representatives on the leadership group, each elected from their region to a three-year term, and three additional at-large members from anywhere in the state elected at the annual meeting, also for a three-year term.
In 1983, four school district Superintendents gathered in Monterey, California to discuss a common dilemma they were facing. Sacramento was becoming a much more prominent source of policy and financial decisions for all School Districts. Large districts stepped up their lobbying efforts. Unfortunately, the voice for small School District representation was not heard. The Small School Districts’ Association was created in 1983 to fill this void.
The challenge facing the small group of Superintendents in Monterey was how to establish an effective voice in Sacramento advocating only the concerns and welfare of smaller school districts in California with ADA’s less than 5,000 students. Their response was to form the Small School Districts’ Association. It began with four member districts. In the intervening years, it grew to a membership of over 350 districts.
The mission of the Small School Districts’ Association is to provide proactive assistance to small school district governing boards and superintendents through legislative advocacy, collaboration, professional development, and support services.
The SSDA also encourages businesses to support the work of small school districts. SSDA Associate Members include over 120 businesses in such fields as architecture, legal services, construction management, curriculum and assessment, financial services, HVAC, school buses, office equipment, and consultants. Many of our associate members work with our districts to provide much-needed services, facilities, and educational programs.
Four years of diligent effort, research of successful comparable bills, and support from former Senator Andy Manar, and Turing Strategies, HB1819 and SB1819, which creates the "Rural Education Advisory Council" has been filed in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.
Special thanks to Representative Sue Scherer and Senator David Koehler for filing this bill on behalf of all Illinois rural and small schools.
As a part of the ongoing effort to fulfill one of the three primary goals of AIRSS - serving as the VOICE for rural and small schools - this bill is designed to ensure that rural and small schools have the same equitable seat at the table, provide a platform for dialogue and debate, and work to erase the disenfranchisement that exists in our rural schools and communities.
|Sharing Information From Our Partners and Sponsors:|
This time last year, no one could have predicted the unprecedented impact Covid-19 would have on our schools and communities. While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, educators still need support and resources to ensure that rural students are engaged in meaningful learning.
Throughout the pandemic, BetterLesson has worked with thousands of teachers and leaders to help them create powerful virtual, concurrent, and hybrid professional learning experiences. Their coaching and workshops are specifically designed to address the challenges and opportunities in these new ways of teaching and learning. Learn more about their offerings or schedule a consultation to see how they can build a professional learning solution tailored to the needs of your community.
In rural America, the number of students requiring special education and related services—across every disability category—is rising. At the same time, inadequate state and local funding and a national shortage of related service providers is having a disproportionate effect on the nation’s most underserved students.
If you are a school district seeking to:
- Support many students with individual needs
- Maximize limited funding
- Ensure equity, access, and continuity
- Innovate and diversify your services…
Then this new white paper is for you. “Rural America in Focus: Delivering on the Promise of Special Education Related Services” offers an in-depth report on the challenges rural districts face and a guide for how to open up opportunities for students with special needs in your care.