Cultivating and Supporting Effective Rural School Leaders
CoP Description: During the Rural Community of Practice (CoP), which focused on differentiating State support for rural schools, the State Support Network (the Network) observed the additional need by States to cultivate and support rural school leaders. In particular, States needed assistance in having clear theories of action and coordinated plans for rural school leaders as they design and implement priorities under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to ensure that all students receive effective, high-quality services.
This Rural CoP, Year 2 was developed to increase state capacity to support rural school principals in their efforts to implement ESEA plans and initiatives in rural districts with a focus on challenges related to human capital, struggling schools, and increasing desired student outcomes. To support member states in achieving the objectives listed below, the CoP provided opportunities for members to learn from one another, from exemplar school and district leaders, from subject matter experts, from relevant non-profits, from states outside the CoP, from established regional education service agencies (ESAs), and from other federal technical assistance providers, including the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), the Center on School Turnaround (CST), and regional comprehensive centers. These centers, and the state collaborative efforts they are leading, provided opportunities for cross-collaborative work in a CoP learning cycle, as well as leveraging resources.
In this Rural CoP, states built their knowledge and capacity to:
- Identify strategies to overcome challenges to developing effective leadership pipelines and supports for principals, through newly established connections with CoP member states with similar issues (e.g., sharing related theories of actions) and inventory rural leadership development strategies, resources, and assets.
- Build an understanding of promising practices and research on effective rural leadership pipelines, identify strategies to improve quality and viability of rural principal pipelines (i.e. preparation, recruitment, selection, retention, and development), and develop a deeper understanding of the profile of rural principals (i.e., gender, tenure, and community leadership roles).
- Develop a coherent rural principal support action plan, including an equity-based theory of action, and identify strategies to strengthen their state’s theory of action related to growing both principal and teacher talent in rural settings.
- Learn about and connect to USED and other resources to support the implementation of their state’s theory of action and support rural principals as change agents within the context of implementing ESEA priorities.