Day 111 (of 185) rural schools in BC & thanks to @downsteresa for facilitating
Well, I often say that you know you’re in a rural school when it’s going to be a daytrip to get to a Walmart. We’ve also joked that a students spelling may not be great, but you should see them field dress a deer! I’ve had fun growing up and educating in urban and rural (and all the -ish’s in between) communities! I’ve even taken “how many stoplights” into consideration of where I like to be!
I love connecting with rural educators (sometimes we understand and appreciate the power of asynchronous communication a tad better than the urban-folk 😜) I also appreciated our @bcpvpa fall conference a year+ ago bringing up @daisydyerduerr http://daisydyerduerr.com/ to compile and share the work being done in rural education. I’m always up for learning more so tonight I was happy to go to our neighboring district in Kamloops and find out a little bit more about what’s happening in rural schools in British Columbia!
And of course I’m the only representative from my school because the parent couldn’t come because the baby goat was expected today (yes – another marker to help you know if you are in a rural community). But another rural principal and our superintendent ensured that our district were well represented!
- Proximity of services was a topic brought up
- Access. To the school – but also opportunities for the students at the school (practice grams for bus-students (equality/equity for students accessing post secondary)
- Enrichment -accessing that which larger centres take for granted
- The school is ‘the’ support service
- Holistic approaches – and all about the numbers for what can be offered
- Seeing how creativity (like SD 74s Connected Classrooms) can bring students in different communities together like never before
- Schools created (designed?) to utilize attributes of the communities they are in
- Challenges for face-to-face connections (school sports, accessing activities & resources)
- Supporting students via explorations in K-8 schools – taking the learnings from, our middle schools and fine tuning what fits our own learning communities
- Connecting with the aboriginal perspectives that live in our communities and ensuring they are valued parts of our community
- Able to see students talents rise – though a lack of choices may also stifle some talents
- Teacher recruitment and retention can be a challenge….especially for specialists
- “Made it happen” seems to connect with rural commitments & creativity to meet needs
- Personalized attention is nice when a principal can have exit interviews with every student
- Comfort in getting out of the classrooms (by students and teachers)
- Element of being the centre of the community – not just parents going to concerts and grads….also means when there is a need….there is a strong connection already established
- Creativity still limited by bodies in buildings and what they can teach (variety and quality)
- And …. is there a burden placed on staffs to be all things for all learners at all times (not saying this is good or bad……just interesting 😜)
- So much more than just “schools”
- Make full (too much?) use of our facilities – esp when partners want/need to use them!
- Can be cost prohibitive when rental fees needed to access the site (added cost beyond fund raisers)
- Love the share that a school can host both a”grannies quilting bee” and an arms acquisition event on the same day!
- The work of inclusion is so important – especially getting specialists to the students…..’cause so often students that may be able to access alternative learning environments on larger centres……can’t.
- An awareness that to attract professionals (like doctors) there needs to be a school that is attractive to them!
- There are things funded by PAC….and if PAC can’t….the programs disappear – funding issues are issues especially when the source has shifted away from govt funding formula
- And…hate to say it….but our kids are on the roads a LOT – exhausting and dangerous the more frequently we are on our highways (or dirt roads – whatever..not judging.)
- And a sidebar – I love that the SD74 superintendent (Teresa Downs) confirmed that the train that used to bring many of my peers into the high school I attended is running again….but not just for secondary students, elementary too … which makes me pause because that’s a long ride….hmmm wonder if there’s wifi on the passenger coach (formerly the budd-wiser <– they were called Budd Cars by BC Rail and it was helping kids get wiser…..no other inference😜
A good night sharing positive stories, and acknowledging some of the challenges in educating in rural settings. I made a connection to one lady sharing how her child was able to study a beaver lodge and how many urban kids get to do that – because my best beaver lodge exploration was actually in a stream next to a very inner-city school! Just reminded me that sometimes our “uniquenesses” may not always be so unique!
There are many pluses and minuses of being ‘the only show in town’ <– any student wanting to be on student council/drama/etc can…..but if no music specialist…..or enough bodies to pull of a ‘larger production’……sometimes there needs to be an awareness of sometimes there needs to be a blend of quantity along with quality 😶
And my own final comment was the importance to remember that so often “rural schools” don’t just serve ‘a’ community – as a principal, my rural schools often serve diverse communitIES that usually get along…..usually…..and it is important that while schools may hold the name of ‘a’ community, so often they work with students from a variety of communities!
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