Why Rural Partnerships?

Our common future in the United States will include more ethnically and culturally diverse communities, a global knowledge economy that demands new skills of the workforce, and borderless challenges that require new kinds of collaboration and problem solving.

Credit: The Washington Post

“Cities like Willmar are telling a story about America that we don’t often hear — a story about the people and organizations ‘willing to get caught trying’ to do the hard work of building inclusive, pluralistic and vibrant community.”Read Thomas Friedman’s profile of Willmar, MN in The New York Times

Rural communities are experiencing these changes intensely. Globalization has changed their local economy. New immigrants are arriving every day. In the rural communities we’ve worked with, change moves at the speed of trust. Relational ties are strong. People know one another, show up for one another, and invest in each other. They understand best the issues that are impacting their communities. They also have a unique opportunity to model how to be inclusive and adaptive as the world changes around them.

Education is a natural and powerful platform to leverage this opportunity, as it reaches a broad cross section of young people and families from across communities, and can help build a foundation for critical thinking, collaboration, and inclusive and welcoming communities.
Our rural hub partnerships are designed to create education systems that prepare young people to thrive in this changing environment — and communities to build more resilient and adaptive local economies.

“In the 10 U.S. counties with the lowest per capita income as of the 2010 census, all of which are located in rural areas, whites constituted more than 61 percent of the population in only three.”Learn more by reading “Rural America Is More Diverse Than You Think” in The Week.

Our Criteria for Partnership

  • Historically homogeneous communities undergoing demographic transition and/or evidence of significant opportunity gap along racial/ethnic/cultural lines
  • Limited exposure to global education in K-20 landscape
  • Strong, local anchor institutions respected by community members (universities, community colleges, other nonprofits)
  • Committed cultural insiders who will be active champions of the work in the community, and who understand nuances within the local context

Want to bring World Savvy to your community, or have an idea for a region that could benefit from this kind of partnership?

We Build This Work Together

World Savvy’s work on the ground is shaped by the needs of each community we partner with and designed in collaboration with local stakeholders. Here’s what this work looks like in East Tennessee:

K-12 School Partners

Yearlong comprehensive work to integrate professional development (workshops and coaching) for teachers, provide project-based learning and design thinking models for students, and leadership support for inclusive, adaptive school cultures.

Community Colleges

Leveraging a train-the-trainer model for faculty on globally competent pedagogy; engaging Leadership Team to define, activate and sustain welcoming campuses grounded in global competence.

Schools of Education

Introduction of Global Competence Certificate into Masters programming, collaboration on regional professional learning opportunities for rural teachers.

Local Philanthropy

Build local awareness and demand for global education within the philanthropic community.

Featured Hubs

We’ve worked in collaboration with a cohort of five K-12 schools, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Pellissippi State Community College, and the East Tennessee Foundation to build the East Tennessee Global Education Network (GEN). Together, we’re building learning environments where relevant instruction and workforce preparation is available to all kids.

Learn More

In partnership with Somali Community Resettlement Services (SCRS), a steering committee comprised of parents, students, teachers, and school administrators, and Minnesota State, Mankato, we’re working to build a blueprint for inclusion of Somali students in Southeast Minnesota.

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