College of Education summit brings together nearly 120 to discuss rural education achievements, concerns
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Randy Watson, Kansas commissioner of education, addresses the 2021Rural Education Summit: Homegrown Solutions, sponsored by the Kansas State University College of Education's Rural Education Center and conducted virtually on March 26.
MANHATTAN — Approximately 120 educators attended the 2021 Rural Education Summit: Homegrown Solutions, conducted virtually March 26 by the Kansas State University College of Education's Rural Education Center. Focusing on rural school districts, the summit centered around three key issues: recruitment, reinforcement and retention.
The eight member districts of the college's Rural Professional Development Network were recognized at the summit: USD 220 Ashland, USD 379 Clay County, USD 482 Dighton, USD 474 Haviland, USD 215 Lakin, USD 480 Liberal, USD 438 Skyline and USD 240 Twin Valley. Educators with districts from as far away as Alaska, Indiana, Illinois and Tennessee, as well as throughout the state of Kansas, attended the summit.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson shared "The State of Rural Education in Kansas: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers throughout the State," and K-State's Tuan Nguyen, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, presented his research on rural education.
Twelve sessions addressed topics connected to recruitment, reinforcement, and retention during the half-day event. Among the presenters were representatives of the Rural Schools Collaborative and the National Rural Education Association. Topics addressed included STEM, community food needs, and agriculture in the classroom.
Director of the Rural Education Center is Spencer Clark, associate professor of curriculum and instruction. Assistant director of the center is Lori Goodson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.
"Spencer and Lori are doing an incredible job of bringing together educators and administrators from rural communities and addressing challenges they are all facing," said College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer. "With research-backed data, district leaders can effectively deal with issues in a way that's unique to their community and schools. I appreciate Spencer and Lori's efforts to continue this dialogue, unite rural districts — here in Kansas and across the country — and support the education of all rural students."
In addition to the summit, the rural center just launched an e-newsletter "Rural Crossroad: Connections" and is working to bring summer STEM programming to fifth- through eighth-grade students in rural