In June 2015, more than 100 educators and economic development leaders in Colorado came together to design and define the priorities of a collaborative focused on advancing educational opportunity, quality, and economic prosperity in the state’s rural communities. The emerging Colorado Rural Education Collaborative (CREC)—which has since grown to include 33 school districts—is working to:
- Expand rural student access to educational resources that fit their personal aspirations, skills, and learning dynamics.
- Enhance rural teacher and principal access to high-quality professional learning that advance their capability, leadership, and impact.
- Enrich rural community access to education and work partnerships that advance economic and workforce development locally
With support from Battelle for Kids and the Generation Schools Network, the CREC has secured grant funding to help address some key challenges facing districts in the collaborative and many other rural schools across Colorado.
The CREC is partnering with Colorado State University‒Pueblo and the South Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) on a rural teacher recruitment approach that goes beyond résumés and recommendations. The collaborative involves teacher candidates in three-day community engagement experiences that, research shows, greatly increase the chances of them choosing to teach in rural communities. Colorado State University-Global Campus, Santa Fe Trail BOCES (SFTBOCES), and the CREC have co-designed and delivered a shared teacher credentialing system for dual enrollment courses.
In September 2015, Battelle for Kids cosponsored a Rural Share Fair Nation in Pueblo, CO, which was the first rural-focused professional development offering hosted by the Morgridge Family Foundation and the South Central BOCES leadership. More than 130 rural teachers attended sessions focused on the use of innovative technology in the classroom. A second Share Fair Nation event was held on October 28, 2016 in Pueblo involving more than 150 educators.
The CREC also received philanthropic support to establish a peer-to-peer network of teacher leaders in the collaborative to spread knowledge, build capacity, and model practices proven to increase student success. These teachers are using an online badging system to support peer observation and coaching.
about the CREC’s work expand student opportunity, enhance educational value, and enrich economic prosperity for rural Colorado.