Thursday, October 11, 2018

California launches online network to support rural teachers

Rural teachers can feel isolated from resources that their urban colleagues have, so a group of educators in California decided to do something about it. Last spring about 100 teachers, superintendents, principals and students from all over the state met near Sacramento to launch a network to connect rural schools. The California Rural Ed Network, which launched online Oct. 1, aims to help rural schools "join forces to attract new resources, share expertise and focus attention of policy makers to schools outside urban and suburban California — many of them underfunded and serving a preponderance of low-income students," Lee Romney reports for EdSource.

In California and the U.S., rural youth make up about a fifth of all students and face disproportionate poverty, isolation, and inequalities that are exacerbated "by the lack of attention" to their unique needs, according to the National School Boards Association Center for Public Education.

The network was the brainchild of Susan Hukkanen, a former assistant superintendent in Northern California's Butte County. She was leading a team to bring a "multi-tiered system of support" to all rural schools in the state, to help all students with academic, social and emotional needs. "In her conversations with colleagues in other rural districts, common concerns kept popping up: They felt overlooked, under-resourced, overwhelmed by the needs of their students and families and entirely absent from statewide policy conversations," Romney reports.

CREN tries to address those problems with a searchable online resource bank with more information and ideas on common issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, parent engagement, staff recruitment, dealing with childhood trauma, and more.

No comments: