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ERIC Number: ED519419
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Leveraging the Unique Features of Small, Rural Schools for Improvement. Lessons Learned. Volume 1, Issue 5
Nelson, Steve
Education Northwest (NJ1)
Much of the Northwest Region (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) is rural in nature. A characteristic of the extractive economies such as timber, agriculture, mining, and fisheries is that they are generally located in small communities isolated by distances. While schools in these communities face the same challenges as those in other settings, geographic context matters. Rural schools share similarities with schools in metropolitan communities, but they also have many unique characteristics. By way of definition, a community is considered "rural" when it has fewer than 2,500 residents. Accordingly, 39 percent of the schools in the Northwest are rural, compared to 31 percent nationally. Sixty-nine percent of Northwest region districts are rural, compared to 56 percent nationally. In addition to population, there are other factors that distinguish rural places from each other, as well as from more urban settings. While there are challenging economic and social difficulties encountered in both rural and urban schools, it is important to use the small size and autonomy that characterize rural schools to best advantage in carrying out school improvement efforts. For more than four decades, Education Northwest has partnered with rural communities and districts in its research, development, training, and technical assistance activities. From this experience the author has distilled important lessons for working with rural schools. These lessons will benefit policymakers, researchers, and technical assistance providers who may be providing services to rural schools.
Education Northwest. 101 SW Main Street Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204-3213. Tel: 503-275-9519; Fax: 503-275-0458; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Researchers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Northwest
Identifiers - Location: Alaska; Idaho; Montana; Oregon; Washington