About 70% of Missouri’s schools identify as rural, but there is no state-supported office or university-based center focused on rural school needs – until now.
Missouri State University will open its new Center for Rural Education June 9. Housed in the College of Education, the center will serve as a hub to organize and promote rural school outreach and partnerships.
Dr. Diana Piccolo and Dr. Rhonda Bishop will lead the center as co-directors. Piccolo and Bishop work in the department of childhood education and family studies at MSU as professor and clinical assistant professor, respectively.
“The Center for Rural Education is the first center of its kind in Missouri. It will focus on establishing partnerships and programming to identify, prepare and support quality school professionals for all rural students and school districts across the state,” Piccolo said.
The center’s goals
The center has four goals:
- Develop and sustain school and community partnerships.
- Establish a teacher pipeline.
- Retain and support rural teachers.
- Seek and secure external funding to promote research and advocacy.
For the first year, a few of the center’s possible activities include:
- Establish a consortium of rural schools.
- Identify and apply for relevant grants.
- Research and share ideas for effective “grow your own” programs.
- Promote dual credit opportunities for general education and teacher preparation courses.