Ohio Appalachian Collaborative Blog

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Rural Strong: Collaborating, Innovating, and Revitalizing for Rural Prosperity

by User Not Found | Jul 01, 2014
By Barb Hansen, Rural Education National Forum Director

October 27-28, 2014
Hilton Columbus/Polaris
Columbus, Ohio

Nearly a quarter of America’s public school students are educated in rural settings steeped in their own culture and populated by resourceful families, many of whom have lived there for generations. Over time, a rural prosperity crisis has developed as small towns and rural areas have tried to survive on their own, a hallmark trait of rural life. As a result, rural Americans are experiencing a diminishing capacity to support and deliver education services that result in more beneficial outcomes to the region. 

By contrast, persistently prosperous rural communities exhibit strong, connected, and relevant educational systems and are sharing their stories. It is clear that rural prosperity and the growth of a rural education voice are linked to a well-designed and supported local education and economic development framework, which correlates to lower unemployment and poverty rates as well as higher graduation rates. Rural educators are developing a positive sense of energy, sharing their successes widely with others as they did last year at the 2013 Rural Education National Forum in Columbus. Over 300 people from 15 states attended the Forum and were able to hear U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applaud the efforts of rural educators.

The 2014 Forum will be held October 27-28 in Columbus, Ohio and is designed to:
  • Contribute to the Forum’s growing momentum and encourage participation in the emerging voice for rural education;
  • Build opportunities for collaboration/networking to leverage rural strengths to improve rural prosperity;
  • Learn from powerful national examples of successful rural innovation; and 
  • Focus on ways to connect learning, living, and livelihood for the revitalization of rural communities.
Rural district, building, and teacher leaders, as well as business and community leaders are encouraged to register by July 18 to take advantage of the Early Bird rate.  Register now

Featured Speakers include:  
  • Homer Hickam, Author, Rocket Boys: A Memoir (adapted into the movie October Sky) which reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list in 1999; 
  • Paul Kuhlman, National Rural Teacher of the Year from South Dakota where he teaches STEM classes; 
  • Gayle Manchin, President, West Virginia State Board of Education; and,
  • Jim Mahoney, Executive Director of Battelle for Kids.
Questions: Email Barb Hansen, Forum Director.