ECU to serve as rural education hub for Southeast
The Rural Education Institute (REI) — which is part of the College of Education — will serve as the Southeast hub of RSC, creating a space for educators in the Carolinas to have their voices heard while creating a local network that facilitates collaboration.
“As director of REI, I am committed to our rural schools and communities, and value the opportunity to partner in all ways across our region,” said Dr. Kristen Cuthrell. “That is the vision I see for this newest regional hub: creating shared space for elevating our region’s collective knowledge, experiences and commitment to rural places and spaces. There is much we can learn and do with each other.”
The Rural Schools Collaborative’s mission is to build sustainable rural communities through a keen focus on place, teachers and philanthropy. The variety of initiatives that REI continues to implement are a main reason for its selection as the Southeast hub.
REI seeks to serve local communities through teacher pathway programs and local and regional development, advocating for the important of rural schools and communities and research into what does and doesn’t work in rural education.
Two of the ways REI fulfills its mission to initiate and facilitate partnerships and research-driven innovations is through the edPIRATE grant and Collaborative Action in Rural Education (CARE) Corps program. The edPIRATE initiative creates a teacher pipeline in rural communities through a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program focused on educational justice and equity in the classroom.
Housed within REI, CARE Corps is part of the AmeriCorps program and focuses on creating an equitable and resilient school environment through teaching, mentoring and mental health support.
“By engaging parents, families and local stakeholders, CARE Corps serves over 4,050 students, fostering positive change in mindset, social-emotional skills, academic achievement, and desire for educational success,” said Taylor Parrish, program coordinator at REI.
Mental health support isn’t a new initiative for REI. Starting in 2020, Project Don’t Wait began focusing on disaster mental health preparation and response, which has resulted in more than 30 workforce development trainings in the region.
With its inclusion into the Rural Schools Collaborative, REI joins a group of 15 other regional hubs that serve a total of 33 states. Learn more about REI on the College of Education website.