Getting better together: Innovations for rural learners and communities

Association of educational service agencies

Hobart L Harmon & Thomas A Butler

Harmon, H. L., & Butler, T. A. (2019). Getting better together: Innovations for rural learners and communities. Perspectives: A Journal of Research and Practice of Educational Service Agencies, 25(1). Available online: Read full report here

Is your Educational Service Agency (ESA) getting better at meeting the needs of school districts? Are educated learners and viable communities important outcomes of rural school districts receiving services from the ESA? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then what process is in place to give ESA leadership confidence that the organization is getting better at meeting the unique educational challenges of rural learners and their communities? With 35 member school districts, most of which are rural, Intermediate Unit (IU) 8 in Pennsylvania is seeking to scale innovations that school systems are evolving as solutions to challenges in their local contexts. But consistent with its mission, IU8 seeks to make the innovations better, meaning more learner-centered and community-focused. IU8 is evolving a Getting Better Together (GBT) initiative that includes the CARE (Catalyzing Action for Responsive Education) process.