New EdCan Network case study research report entitled The Rural Advantage: Rallying Communities Around Our Students calls on school-community leaders to consider a made-in-Canada approach that raises literacy rates, prevents early school leaving and breathes life back into small towns.
It’s an all-too-common scenario in Canada’s rural communities. Parents who struggle to read and write. Household incomes and unemployment rates that fall below the national average. Students with special needs who require a speech pathologist or a teaching assistant, but don’t get one. Schools at risk for closure and dwindling community services as young people dropout of school or opt for brighter opportunities in the big city. But these trends can be reversed with a “community ecosystem approach”: a Canadian-developed, step-by-step process for developing school-community partnerships that can reduce student dropout rates in rural and disadvantaged schools and municipalities.
“Our grade-four French-language success scores have risen from 50% to 98% in only five years,” says Sylvain Tremblay, principal of both an elementary school and a high school in Saint-Paul-de-Montminy, Quebec. “Instead of working in silos, we engaged parents, kids, teachers and community partners to collectively lead activities that increase the language skills of toddlers and encourage the academic and social success of our children and young adults.”
This guidebook was originally developed with the support of CTREQ – a Quebec-based research and knowledge mobilization centre – and provides a practical toolkit and worksheets for school and community leaders to create their own unique program, including guidance on how to engage hard-to-reach families, classrooms, schools, and whole communities.
“Schools can’t afford to work in isolation from the families and communities where their students live and grow up,” says Darren Googoo, Chair of the EdCan Network, a pan-Canadian collective of education leaders. “This approach isn’t about overloading busy educators; rather, it’s about community leaders rallying around a literacy action plan that leverages existing resources and strengthens existing efforts.”
Download the full report for free, including how-to videos and a practical toolkit, at: www.edcan.ca/ecoreussite-report.
This initiative is generously sponsored by State Farm Canada, which shares EdCan Network’s commitment to supporting leaders who are transforming Canada’s public education system.