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The Rural Solution: How Community Schools Can Reinvigorate Rural Education


"The situations surrounding rural education--like the views from the classroom windows--vary widely from place to place. But what rural places have in common is the challenge to provide a quality education to ensure the success of some 10 million students. This challenge often comes with difficult odds--inadequate financing, teacher shortages, and inaccessible or unaffordable services for children and families. The partnerships and approach of "full-service community schools" may hold the greatest potential for addressing rural education's challenges and ensuring that every child has at least a near-equal opportunity to succeed.

This paper combines data from the literature and other public sources, interviews, site visits, and the organizational experience of The Rural School and Community Trust in an examination of community schools from a rural perspective. It provides a context for rural community schools and discusses the need for clarification of the language used to describe the concept of community school. Three examples of successful rural community schools provide a framework for discussing the benefits, characteristics, and policy implications of rural community schools.

The paper also discusses the challenges that rural areas confront in attempting to implement a community school strategy and offers recommendations for overcoming them."