Rural Education

Fifth-graders at Mariam Boyd Elementary in Warrenton, North Carolina, use Chromebooks to answer questions about a story they’re reading. Their teacher, Charis Shattuck, says the technology allows her to review her students’ work in real-time and give them
Lisa Philip / WUNC

North Carolina lawmakers are banking on the benefits of digital learning. Four years ago they passed legislation requiring that state funding for textbooks be replaced by funds for digital materials.

The deadline is this summer. But educators and student advocates say the transition threatens to leave behind the many kids who can’t access high-speed internet at home.

A picture of a wallet with cash in it.
401(k) 2013 / Flickr

North Carolinians are having more trouble attaining the American Dream, according to a new report from Durham-based research center MDC and the John M. Belk Endowment.

Reginald Askew
Kartemquin Films

Thousands of documentary film-lovers are in Durham this week for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.  Close to 100 films from around the world will be featured, but one film in particular hits close to home.

The documentary “Raising Bertie” will have its world premiere at the festival.  It follows the lives of three struggling young men in Eastern North Carolina.

Perils And Promise, Rural Education, Vance Public Schools
Leoneda Inge

Rural areas of North Carolina are not seeing the benefits of the economic recovery that are apparent in places like the Triangle, Triad or Charlotte.

The same is true for rural school districts. Their dropout rates are significantly higher than their urban counterparts, and their surrounding communities have higher rates of unemployment. 

WUNC recently examined one rural district, Vance County Schools, to understand how it is preparing students for higher education and the changing workforce. 

Perils And Promise, Vance County Schools, Carolina College Advising Corps
Carolina College Advising Corps

Trying to find the best path to success can be tough for students who don’t have enough support at home or at school.  This has been found to be true in many rural school districts, across the state, including Vance County.

To help address the problem, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established the first college advising corps in the state, to reach those hard-to-reach students.  We take a closer look at the advising corps in our series, Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students.

Perils and Promise, Rural Education, Advanced Placement
Leoneda Inge

Some teachers and schools administrators say one of the biggest obstacles to success for public school students in rural communities is poverty.  And research shows if you are poor, you have a good chance of being overlooked for gifted, honors or advanced classes.

In our series, Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we spoke with students in an Advanced Placement class in Vance County about their path to success.

Anthony Jackson, Vance County Superintendent, Vance County Schools
Vance County Schools

Many of North Carolina’s rural school districts sit in the middle of communities with struggling economies resulting in high unemployment rates, poverty rates and high school dropout rates.

A picture of a student doing school work.
Marco Arment / flickr.com/photos/marcoarment/1969185955

North Carolina is home to more Early College High Schools than any other state. New numbers show some of the most successful programs are in rural school districts.  Early College High Schools make it possible for students to earn an Associate’s Degree while still in high school. 

Perils And Promise, Rural Education, Vance Public Schools
Leoneda Inge

Like many rural counties, Vance County is not bustling with manufacturing jobs anymore.

In fact, the largest employer in Vance County is the school district.  Its main offices sit in the former textile headquarters of Henderson and Harriett Mills, a testament to the changing economy.  

In our series Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we follow a group of 10th graders to their first career fair.

Perils And Promise, Vance County Schools, Fire Academy
Leoneda Inge

Rural communities across North Carolina have been working hard to re-build their economies and prepare a future workforce.

In Vance County, the public school district has two career academies in place to provide professional development for students and help them focus early on a career.  Plus, academies have been proven to help with student attendance and dropout rates.

Rural Schools, Vance County Schools, Western Vance
Leoneda Inge

Rural counties across the state are not experiencing the economic recovery underway in the Triangle, Triad or in the Charlotte Mecklenburg region.  The unemployment rate is higher, the poverty rate is higher and the high school drop-out rate is higher.