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Recognizing the need for strengthening rural schools and their communities, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in partnership with the Washington D.C. based Rural School and Community Trust, hosted the 2010 Rural Education Rendezvous May 6th in Oregon County. Mike Smith was there and has this report:
More than 125 Ozarks educators, along with CFO staff, donors, and grant and scholarship recipients gathered at the Thomasville School House, a stone structure built by the WPA in 1938. The building now serves as Thomasville’s Community Center and is home to the Oregon County Library. The overall theme of the conference was centered around the concept of “Place Based Education”. John White is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach with the U.S. Department of Education. He says DOE understands “education is a real key to economic development, and as rural America tried to reinvent itself, we believe we need to provide the support that develops even better schools and places where students see themselves building a life and a career. We know that in the next 5 years, we’ll need at least a million new teachers in this country. In many cases, the education field is a high paying job in a rural community and if we have great schools where students can then become the next generation of great teachers, we can help that community build and reinvent itself”. Also during the Rural Education Rendezvous the inaugural class of the Ozarks Teacher Corps was recognized. These 18 students from a variety of southern Missouri colleges and universities, including MSU and Drury, will receive annual scholarships of $4,000 each. In return they will commit to teaching in their respective home communities for 3 years after graduation; serve as teacher-interns in small schools; and explore reual education issues as part of their studies.You’ll hear more about the rendezvous and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks Rural Schools Partnership Tuesday May 25th on the KSMU series Making a Difference Where You Live. For KSMU News, I’m Mike Smith.