Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Susan Headden documented the challenges and successes five rural education partnerships face when developing system-level strategies. The unique look into five rural regions of the United States calls attention to the unique assets rural collaboratives have to deploy when working to improve education and economic outcomes.
Part of CivicLab’s Building Rural Community Learning Systems cohort, with support from Ascendium Education Group, five partnerships completed a multi-year program focused on building the capacity of cross-sector teams. Each partnership focused on a unique challenge in their region – re-enrolling adults that stopped out of college before completing a credential, increasing enrollment rates for young Black men, creating new pathways to meet future industry demand – and developed specific plans using CivicLab principles.
Susan Headden worked with each partnership to uncover the stories behind the strategies. Through her reporting, a cast of unlikely champions for postsecondary education are discovered, connecting to a region’s unique history is seen as an accelerating force, and pushing back against national narratives is present throughout.