Improvement Efforts in Rural Schools: Experience of Nine Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants
Low-performing schools in rural settings can face challenges common to all struggling schools, such as low student motivation and maintaining a qualified teaching staff. However, aspects of rural schools’ settings, such as the distance from urban areas and the commute between the schools and the students’ and teachers’ homes, can exacerbate the challenges that rural schools face. This article focuses on the experiences of nine rural schools that were part of a study for the U.S. Department of Education on the school improvement process in a purposive sample of 35 schools receiving federal funds through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. In particular, it examines how respondents in the rural schools perceived that the schools’ rural setting influenced the schools’ challenges and improvement actions and presents findings on the recruitment and retention of teaching staff, an activity integral to school improvement efforts under SIG.