The Rural Summit

2021 A Virtual Rural Summit

Partners for Education at Berea College and co-host Campus Compact New Hampshire are excited to invite you to the 2021 Rural College Access and Success Summit. This virtual event will be held April 26th to April 30th, 2021. Sessions will run from 1:00pm to 3:30pm (EST) each day preceded by 30 minute networking sessions beginning at 12:30pm.

One of the few national convenings to focus on rural America, the Summit brings together teachers, principals, superintendents, higher education leaders, legislators, and non-profit leaders to share ideas and strategies for ensuring that rural youth have the opportunity to successfully transition from high school to college and career.

We hope you will join us and use the opportunity to open a digital window on your community.

Summit Keynotes

Authors Silas House and Neela Vaswani will discuss their widely acclaimed young adult novel, which follows the pen pal friendship of two 11-year-olds: one living in rural Kentucky and the other in New York City after emigrating from India. In a series of letters, they tell each other about their family’s struggles with environmental devastation, discrimination and education. In the process, they illuminate differences in race, region, religion, gender and much more.

Social change advocate and author Paul Shoemaker will lead a conversation about building local leaders, leaders who are positioned to address hard problems because they activate five vital traits. Shoemaker will be joined by Cecilia Gutierrez and Dreama Gentry, two of the leaders, who he calls Rebuilders, featured in his most recent book. The conversation will explore how everyone who acts as a positive force in their community can be a Rebuilder.

Change agent Aminata Cairo will lead the audience on a journey of exploration by taking an honest look at what it takes to create equitable and inclusive communities. She will explore why embracing diversity and inclusion can seem like matter of fact endeavors to some and like insurmountable challenges to others. The exploration will move towards a better understanding of what is truly required of us to create environments where all stories are valid and all people can thrive.

Registration Information

Registration for the 2021 Summit is now closed

If you have additional questions, please email ruralsummit@berea.edu.

CONVERSATIONS FOR ACTION

While Covid-19 has limited the ability of rural educators to connect in traditional ways, Partners for Education has committed to creating opportunities to continue sharing ideas, experience, and practical advice for improving educational opportunities in rural communities. Each month we will host a webinar featuring a conversation with people committed to serving the needs of rural students.

Click here to register for upcoming events.

Click images below to view previous webinars or you can listen to our podcast version on iTunes, Spotify or by downloading here.

September 2021: Dr. Regina Washington, director of Rural Impact Networks, was joined by Dr. Russell “Russ” Olwell, associate dean and professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College and author of “Mentoring is a Verb” and “A Guide to Early College and Dual Enrollment Programs.” The conversation focused on high-impact practices within college access, specifically on mentoring and dual enrollment.

August 2021: Dreama Gentry was joined by Dr. Ginny Sprang, a professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky, and executive director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children, and Dr. Vestena Robbins who is the senior executive advisor for the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The conversation focused on how trauma can be a barrier to college success and best practices for addressing trauma and secondary trauma in rural areas.

June 2021: Dreama Gentry, Executive Director of Partners For Education, was joined by two NACAC Rural and Small Town SIG Leadership Team members, Dr. Victoria Lewis, The University of Alabama Early College, and Matt Ybarra Associate Director of College Counseling for Santa Fe Preparatory School. During the conversation, they discussed the free resources and opportunity to network and impact college access for rural students.

March 2021: Dreama Gentry, Executive Director at Partners For Education at Berea College, was joined by Aaron DuPuis, Community Relations Coordinator, and Stephanie Lesperance, Director of GEAR UP Alliance, at Campus Compact for Hampshire to discuss the upcoming virtual Rural Summit.

February 2021: For our February conversation, we were joined by Danielle Vetter, senior program officer, and Kirstin Yeado, program officer, from Ascendium. Danielle and Kirstin are part of Ascendium’s Rural Education and Workforce Training focus area that seeks to expand education and workforce training opportunities for rural learners.

January 2021: In this conversation, Joseph Goins, CEO of an action-based research company, NS4ed, which works closely with states, schools, teachers, and educators, will highlight schools in New Mexico, which are tuition-free and expose all students to rigorous academics and career technical education coursework. These schools focus on low-income youth, first-generation college-goers, English Language Learners, ethnically diverse students, and other young people underrepresented in higher education.

December 2020: This month in partnership with Texas Instruments, Dreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education, shares how our programs are helping rural communities overcome three barriers to achieve educational success.

November 2020: Sky and Geoff Marietta are rural educators and entrepreneurs whose experiences shaped their new book, Rural Education in America. We discuss their comprehensive framework for understanding the diversity and complexity of rural communities in the United States and for helping rural educators implement and evaluate successful place-based programs.

September 2020: This month’s conversation examines the challenges and opportunities of college advising in rural high schools that have gone virtual. Dreama was joined by Steve Fouse Director of Student Success, and Paige Cyrus, Student Success Advisor, from Ozarks Technical Community College.

August 2020: Rural schools face a variety of challenges related to college access. On this show, guests Darryl Lester and Rosa Moreno explore how AmeriCorps can play a key role in creating pathways to educational success.

The slides used in the presentation can be downloaded here. To learn more about the potential of service years to support rural communities, please see this whitepaper.

Photos of Dr. Andrea Kane and Dr. Robert Balfanz

July 2020: This month’s conversation focuses on how schools can use existing early warning systems to help address the social, emotional, and academic needs of students during Covid-19.

For a copy of Dr. Balfanz’s presentation, click here.

Photos of Luke Hodson and Andrew Moe

June 2020: A conversation about how Covid-19 will impact the enrollment and retention of rural students at postsecondary institutions. Host Dreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education was joined by Dr. Andrew Moe and Luke Hodson.

Highlights From The 2018-2019 Summits

The Student Voice Team spoke as a plenary during the 2018 summit.
The Student Voice Team spoke as a plenary during the 2018 summit.
Dr. Jill Biden, Save the Children U.S. board chair, shakes hands with Berea College President Lyle Roelofs before her speech.
Dr. Jill Biden, Save the Children U.S. board chair, shakes hands with Berea College President Lyle Roelofs before her speech.
Dr. Jill Biden, Save the Children U.S. board chair, with Dreama Gentry, Partners for Education executive director.
Dr. Jill Biden, Save the Children U.S. board chair, with Dreama Gentry, Partners for Education executive director.
Partners and co-hosts of the summit connected with attendees.
Partners and co-hosts of the summit connected with attendees.
Ranjit Sidhu, president & CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP), discusses rural education challenges and successes with Dreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education at Berea College.
Ranjit Sidhu, president & CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP), discusses rural education challenges and successes with Dreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education at Berea College.
Plenary speaker Hasan Davis, J.D. signs his book for attendees.
Plenary speaker Hasan Davis, J.D. signs his book for attendees.
Questions about the Summit? Contact Samantha Dodson-Skinner at 859-985-4144