Urban vs. Rural—Why Not Both?
SFS Partners with ICESC
What an amazing week! I can’t help but make the focus of this blog post the exciting opportunity that Standard For Success has to impact Indiana students once again. For the past year, we have served as evaluators for the Indiana Council on Educating Students of Color after school programming through 21st Century Learning. Perhaps the most unique aspect of working as an evaluator on project was that SFS was evaluating the program, rather than the individual teachers. This has given us the chance to visit and observe after school programming provided by this outstanding group of educators. This was a new opportunity for me for a variety of reasons. First of all, most of my experience and research has been based upon rural education. Partnering with this group has given me the occasion to observe urban and minority students in a non-traditional setting. Secondly, the hard-working educators in this program focused on research-based instructional strategies in the area of vocabulary. Last but not least was the first-rate technology integration available to these students. Virtual reality experiences are common as part of this programming, as is hands on project-based learning.
Urban and Rural Education Unite
This week, as we prepare for the upcoming School Improvement Summit and another year of partnering with the ICESC, I realize how blessed I am to be a part of this initiative. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in Indiana education that experts in the fields of urban and rural education have come together to make a difference for Indiana’s children. There has been so much separation of the two initiatives. While each of the geographical areas face unique issues, many of the issues facing our children are the same. Further, due to the make-up of Indiana school districts, our young people entering the education field may likely teach in a rural setting one year, and an urban the next, or vice versa.
Educating ALL Students
In closing, my point is that as educators, we ALL need to be prepared to educate ALL children. We can learn from our colleagues who teach in schools that are different from those to which we are accustomed, and likely if a teaching strategy works well for one set of students, it will work well for another set. I am super excited to be part of a team that is committed to working together to recognize, appreciate, and meet our students’ diverse needs.