What if educators in small, rural schools were able to connect and collaborate with colleagues who teach the same subjects and struggle with the same challenges?
What if students in small, rural schools felt connected to their communities and engaged with their learning?
The Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement (NW RISE) Network aims to answer those questions. The network convenes teachers and leaders from some of the Northwest’s most isolated and remote communities to learn from each other, share strategies to meet their unique challenges, and spread best practices of the region’s rural schools.
If NW RISE sounds like it could help your school or district improve teaching and learning, consider joining us: We are looking to grow the network and give more rural educators in the Northwest a place to connect!
Why was NW RISE created?
Fully two-thirds of the Northwest region’s school districts are in rural locales. Educators in these schools do important and courageous work, but they often do it alone—lacking access to professional development or collaborative learning opportunities that their urban counterparts rely on to deepen their practice or discuss their work. This is particularly true for teachers who are the only educator in their grade, school, or community.
NW RISE was designed to address this challenge by bringing together teachers, principals, and superintendents from participating school districts, along with state education agency (SEA) staff. Participants meet face to face twice a year in job-alike groups (for example, language arts teachers work together). After the meetings they continue collaborating online. These activities build an educator support network that focuses on enhancing student outcomes.
What does NW RISE do?
NW RISE provides a platform for mutual assistance—one of the most promising strategies used by high-performing school systems across the world. A network of schools helping schools—especially isolated ones—can raise achievement and increase student engagement. Professionals work with other professionals, drawing on their expertise in similar contexts to provide helpful advice.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my world of Garden Valley, I forget there’s a bigger world. It’s exciting to meet people who know exactly what I go through. I realize that I’m not alone. I wish there was something like this before. It was sink or swim before (or go see a grade that doesn’t apply to me). —NW RISE member
Who is in NW RISE?
- Alaska (2): Denali Borough and Lower Kuskokwim
- Idaho (7): Basin, Bliss, Garden Valley, Genesee, Glenns Ferry, Salmon River, and South Lemhi
- Oregon (8): Blachly, Butte Falls, Dayville, Gilchrist, Ione, Perrydale, Powers, and Wallowa
- Washington (10): Columbia, Cusick, Glenwood, Loon Lake, Pateros, Skykomish, Summit Valley, Trout Lake, Wishram, and White Pass
SEA members support the work of the school districts and gain school improvement practices and tools to share with schools across their states.
Read Danette Parsley's recent blog post about NW RISE on the Shanker Institute website. In addition, two national publications highlight the rural educator network:
- Battelle for Kids' Generating Opportunity and Prosperity: The Promise of Rural Educational Collaboratives
- Designing Rural School Improvement Networks: Aspirations and Actualities Andy Hargreaves, Danette Parsley, & Elizabeth K. Cox Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 2: pages 306-321.
If your school or district would benefit from membership and/or you would like more information, contact NWCC’s Danette Parsley, 503.275.9633.