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We're sharing an important announcement with you regarding the National Forum to Advance Rural Education. This year’s event is not canceled, but we are converting it to a virtual experience that will take place November 12–13, 2020.  

It will be a new experience for all of us. This year will be different because the world is different. Rural communities are different. Over the past few months we have seen extraordinary alternative learning experiences, as well as significant educational access and equity challenges.

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Some aspects of the event will remain the same: 

  • You will still be able to connect with a diverse community of national experts, K–12 and higher education practitioners, researchers, and policymakers to learn, collaborate, and lead 21st century learning across rural America. 

  • The National Forum to Advance Rural Education will be hosted again by the National Rural Education Association (NREA) and Battelle for Kids. 

Some things will be different: 

  • A virtual platform enables broader, more diverse networking and active engagement around critical issues related to the social, health, and economic impact of COVID-19. 

  • This year’s event will not take place in Indianapolis as originally planned; it will be an innovative two-day virtual experience, connecting you with rural partners across the country in new, and perhaps more powerful, ways.  

  • Our event theme this year is Recovery, Renewal, and Resilience: 21st Century Education in Rural America 

  • Save the new date! November 12–13, 2020


Battelle for Kids and NREA are ready to try innovative ways to collaborate and elevate the voice of rural districts, educators, leaders and researchers to make 21st century learning a reality for every rural student. As we continue to coordinate the details, we will post information here: 

Until then, what matters most right now is the health and well-being of everyone everywhere. The NREA and Battelle for Kids hope you are safe and healthy.


Share your research about rural education issues – submit a research session proposal!   

 Since the conference is virtual, research sessions will be different from years past. All research sessions will be pre-recorded and made available as on-demand content for viewing during and post-conference. Research sessions can be up to 30 minutes in length.

A limited number of researchers who submit research session proposals will be selected to showcase their work during Day 1 of conference programming.

Research session proposals are due July 31, 2020 and acceptance notifications will be sent in mid-September. If your research session proposal is accepted, you will be required to register for the conference. 


Battelle for Kids and the National Rural Education Association invite our partners to serve as a sponsor and support our mission of creating an environment for collaboration and innovation to learn and share ideas around the topics at the forefront of rural education and to ensure 21st century learning is a reality for all rural students.

Through this year’s fully immersive virtual event, you'll have even greater opportunities to connect and establish relationships with some of the most influential and innovative minds in rural education.


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2019 Event Highlights


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If you have any questions about this year's virtual experience, email us at


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