Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach John White to visit Nebraska Schools and the National Rural Education Research Center

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U.S. Department of Education Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach John White will visit two rural Nebraska schools that were awarded School Improvement Grants (SIG) and the National Center for Research on Rural Education (R2Ed) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this week. On Thursday, White will visit Winnebago High School at 8 a.m. and Madison Elementary School at noon to observe early progress with these two rural school turnaround efforts and discuss college and career readiness, as well as the president’s 2020 goal for college completion. On Friday, he will meet with R2Ed researchers regarding unique challenges and opportunities in rural schools.

Nebraska received $17.4 million in fiscal year 2009 to help turn around its persistently lowest-achieving schools. In fiscal year 2009, states received a total of $3.5 billion from the Title I School Improvement Grant program. From the fiscal year 2010 budget, $546 million is being made available to states from the School Improvement Grant program. The program enables schools to implement one of four intervention models to help it improve teaching and learning. Both Winnebago HS and Madison ES are implementing the transformation model.

In July 2009, the Department awarded a five-year, nearly $10 million grant to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to establish a national center for research on improving student learning in reading, science and math in rural schools. Researchers are identifying how to best provide professional development for teachers in rural schools to infuse state-of-the-art instructional strategies in their classrooms and enhance student learning. Answers could guide improvements in professional development and instructional practices for rural teachers across Nebraska and the nation.