Academic journal article Rural Educator

From the Editor

Academic journal article Rural Educator

From the Editor

Article excerpt

Articles published in the Spring/summer 201 1 edition of the Rural Educator explore a diversity of topics in a variety of North American rural settings, from Texas in the southern US to Saskatchewan in western Canada.

Abshier, Harris, and Hopson, in a qualitative, narrative study, explored efficiency and financial status in a sample of seven rural Texas districts. The primary driver of the state's funding system is enrollment, which means that small schools often have to provide the same services that larger schools do, but with less revenue. In their efforts to increase revenues, superintendents in this study sought to navigate the state's funding system to its maximum potential and to the greatest benefit for their districts. They realize the importance of involving all stakeholders in these efforts and processes and recognize that these community members see the school as an important part of the infrastructure that helps to give their town an identity and a sense of community.

Fortunately, according to the findings of this study, some small-school superintendents are finding ways to overcome these tough economic conditions. With help from stakeholders inside their districts and advice from experts outside their districts, these superintendents in Texas are finding ways to help their districts survive, and in some cases, even thrive.

Hellsten, Mclntyre, & Prytula investigated the experiences of beginning teachers in rural schools in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Beginning teachers in the study identified the challenges of working in rural and northern communities, including: acceptance; understanding the community; isolation; overlap between personal and professional lives; and impact of rural context on workload. In addition, participants made recommendations for teachers considering employment in these environments, including: preparing to obtain a rural teaching position; seeking out mentorship relationships; and making connections within and outside of the community.

Vanek et al. reported on a regional outreach initiative for high school students that offered a year-long exploration of air quality and its relation to respiratory health. The Air Toxics under the Big Sky program developed at the University of Montana was designed to connect university staff and resources with rural schools enabling students to learn and apply science process skills through self-designed research projects conducted within their communities. …

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