College Board at the 2017 National Forum to Advance Rural Education
College Board at the 2017 National Forum to Advance Rural EducationAya Takemoto, Director, SAT Practice, and Jeff Carlson, Director, Global Policy and External Relations
"What we may call the middle of nowhere, is the middle of somewhere, for students and families in rural communities,” Jane Downey, Montana State University, Oct. 12, Rural Ed Forum
Last week the National Rural Education Association (NREA) and Battelle for Kids hosted the National Forum to Advance Rural Education in Columbus, Ohio. During the conference, the College Board was recognized as a lead sponsor due to our partnership with NREA, and two College Board staff members presented about the work being done to bring college access resources and programs to rural schools and communities across the country.
In many cases, the College Board’s past strategies for rural schools and districts have been ad hoc. Engagement came from policy inflection points or personal relationships in specific states; rural goals can seem counterintuitive, as many organizations and state departments drive toward volume targets.
But now, the College Board is working to create initiatives that are targeted, rural-specific, and designed to learn more about and build rural interactions with our assessments and services. This work is especially timely because the 2015/2016 “Why Rural Matters” report from the Rural School and Community Trust included a “College Readiness” gauge for the first time, which includes the percent of rural juniors/seniors taking at least one AP course and the percent of rural juniors/seniors taking the ACT/SAT.
Here are some highlights from the College Board's rural intiatives:
- New AP state partnerships are showing AP participation growth in key states like North Carolina and New Mexico.
- The launch of AP Computer Science Principles in rural Kentucky and Nevada have seen great success; between the two states, there are 64 newly trained AP CSP teachers—including 43 from small towns and rural areas.
- The Official SAT Practice Rural California Challenge is another effort to learn more about how best to briing College Board tools to students in rural communities. Sixteen rural and small districts have signed up to make SAT practice a priority and engage more students in practicing on Official SAT Practice. The challenge will run the full school year and five districts will be recognized at the next NREA conference in October for having the highest number of students linking and practicing. This challenge will be expanded to more states next school year.
At the Rural Ed Forum, the College Board was also highlighted in a presentation by Modern States Education Alliance, which announced a new effort to use CLEP programs to make Freshman Year free.
The College Board was also recognized as an executive sponsor at NREA’s annual dinner and auction. Proceeds from the auction go to NREA’s annual essay contest, which asks students grades 3-12 in rural communities to write an essay or create a video about the importance of school and community.
If you are interested in learning more or supporting this work, please reach out to Aya Takemoto, Director of SAT Practice at the College Board, at firstname.lastname@example.org.