The second annual Rural Schools Rendezvous in Thomasville, Mo., last week brought together some 150 educators, students, philanthropists and experts for a day of sharing ideas and inspiration for maintaining rural schools.
The CFO’s Rural Schools Partnership held the conference at the Thomasville Community Center in Oregon County, where CFO Executive Committee member Dusty Shaw hosted the group.
The day then featured a series of presentations and workshops facilitated by Margaret MacLean, Jereann King Johnson, and Robert Mahaffey of The Rural School and Community Trust in Washington, D.C.; Jim Beddow, Randy Parry, and Mike Knutson of the Rural Learning Center in Minor County, S.D.; Lavina Grandon of the Rural Community Alliance in Arkansas; and CFO’s own Carol Silvey, who led a lively discussion on building school foundations.
New members of the Ozarks Teacher Corps were introduced and the inaugural class was recognized. The 2011 Coover Place-Based Grant recipients were honored at the Rendezvous picnic under a big tent. Eight schools received grants totaling $140,823 for projects that promote the Rural Schools Partnership’s mission of connecting schools and communities through the principles of place-based education.
The grants are made possible by the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation Place-Based Education Grantmaking Program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in partnership with Commerce Trust.
Here is a summary of this year’s grants:
- Leeton R-X: $20,000 for the School Based Enterprise Bulldog Express, which will expand the community grocery in a larger location and add a coffee shop/deli.
- Chadwick: $19,989 for a project to study the edible and medicinal benefits of Ozark Mountain herbs and build an outdoor classroom.
- Sherwood-Cass: $20,000 for “The Sherwood Forest,” a campus Master Treescape and Beautification Plan and enhance the carbon-credit awareness and green operational strategy capacities of the students and community.
- Fairview – $19,534 for a water awareness project to train middle-school students about freshwater quality and mentor lower-elementary teachers to teach younger students. The project will culminate a community-wide “Fresh Water Awareness Festival.”
- Stockton: $16,700 for a “Tiger Community Pride” project to build a pavilion, and a vegetable/flower garden, including research on Missouri wildflowers and their benefits.
- St. James YEP – $20,000 to start Firehouse Coffee, a student community enegagement center in a 2,500-square-foot old firehouse that also will host summer concerts to generate revenue for the YEP fund.
- Glenwood: $4,600 for “Grow Our Strengths,” a project to build raised beds to grow produce to use in the school kitchen and donate to the community food pantry, along with learning to compost school kitchen waste.
- Dora: $20,000 for “Dora Digital Story Telling,” where students will complete a “digital story” based on a community inquiry project that analyzes an aspect of the Ozarks.