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College of Education's Rural Education Center to host teacher retention summit

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

national rural summit

The Rural Education Center in the Kansas State University College of Education will host the virtual Rural Education Summit, with the theme of "Recruitment, Reinforcement and Retention," on Friday, March 26.


MANHATTAN — The Rural Education Center at the Kansas State University College of Education will host virtually the Rural Education Summit, "Homegrown Solutions," on Friday, March 26, with the theme "Recruitment, Reinforcement and Retention."

The half-day program includes national speakers and kicks off with messages from Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, and Randy Watson, Kansas commissioner of education. K-State's Tuan Nguyen, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction who researches teacher recruitment and retention, will present his findings on rural education.

Registration is open nationwide, and the fee of $10 is designed to encourage several individuals from a district to attend. Register at 2021 Rural Summit.

Gary Funk, director of the Rural Schools Collaborative, based in Cambridge, Wisconsin, will discuss the I Am a Rural Teacher national advocacy campaign, and Allen Pratt, executive director of the National Rural Education Association, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will present "Rural Education: Stories and Updates From Pandemic to Innovation."

Spencer Clark, K-State associate professor of curriculum and instruction and Rural Education Center director, said he believes the focus on rural education is a critical element for Kansas' future.

"This summit puts the spotlight on rural education across Kansas, and it's an important time to highlight the quality education opportunities available in our rural schools and shape their future," he said.

Attendees can choose from a variety of breakout sessions, with strands based on the conference's themes of recruitment, reinforcement and retention. Presenters will provide introductory comments, then lead their session's group discussion via Zoom. The presentations will build upon videos they created that will be uploaded prior to the conference for attendees to view.

Topics include emotional wellness; Ag in the Classroom; robots and other grants to support your schools; STEM; business and education skills partnerships; and district partnerships for community food needs. The full schedule will be posted soon.

"We are excited to provide this online summit, where rural educators and community leaders can gather to not only address key issues in rural education but also develop solid responses to those," said Lori Goodson, assistant director of the Rural Education Center.

"We chose this format specifically to make efficient use of attendees' time while addressing key topics," Goodson said. "With the videos providing valuable content prior to the actual live online sessions, attendees can then bring specific questions and ideas to the speakers' sessions. We want this to create a valuable dialogue among our rural partners where we look for answers and build connections with one another."

For more information about the summit, contact the Rural Education Center at ruraled@k-state.edu.