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Connecting Educators, Building Communities Across Rural America

The White House Rural Council announces the U.S. Department of Education's new online community of practice group for rural schools.

Ed. Note: This is cross-posted from the ED Blog  

In an increasingly interconnected world, we can no longer allow geography to be a barrier to education and opportunity in rural America.

Through the national broadband plan and unprecedented investments in education reform, the Obama administration is leveraging the power of technology to overcome distance and increase collaboration to accelerate student achievement in rural schools.

Today, the White House Rural Council announced the U.S. Department of Education's new online community of practice group for rural schools. Virtual communities of practice provide a platform for educators to connect to resources, tools, colleagues, experts, and learning activities, both within and beyond schools.

Rural school leaders and teachers can join this online community for rural schools by logging-on to and creating an account. As membership grows, rural educators will be able to connect with peers in their home states and across the nation to exchange ideas and learn from one another. 

This new community of practice is the latest effort to address the needs of rural educators. Last year, the Department of Education (ED) launched its school turnaround community to support Title I school improvement grantees. ED has scheduled a summer Webinar series to begin the dialog and introduce members to research-based best practices.

Turning around chronically low achieving schools is tough work and no one should feel they have to do this work alone.

The Department is turning to technology because it breaks down geographic barriers and addresses rural isolation in education. Opportunities for using the Internet as a bridge to overcome geography and bring new opportunities to rural areas will continue to increase.

I hope you will join our online school turnaround learning community and share what works in your rural schools.

Thank you for joining our community, and for your commitment to providing a world-class education to the students of rural America.

Arne Duncan is the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education