14 SES 08 A JS, Transitions and Links in Urban/Rural Place-Based Learning
Symposium Joint Session NW 14 with NW 30
For the past 25 years, Alabama rural communities and schools serving low-income and minority students have connected with professionals and resources in urban areas through PACERS, a nonprofit organization. PACERS’ Community Documentation through the Arts program includes projects, such as oral history, photography, videography and journalism. Expert assistance provided to these projects has involved connecting urban professionals and universities with the communities. Additional voluntary assistance often includes those returning to their communities from urban areas following retirement. This paper will focus on how projects bring together members of a community to enrich a young person’s education through ” coproduction of education” (Mathews, 2008, p. 562). PACERS seeks to get the community’s residents involved in the public school system and provide the community with a sense of ownership so that the residents want to make their local schools better. Alabama has one of the largest proportional rural student enrollments in the country. (Strange, Johnson, Showalter & Klein, 2012). In addition, the paper will discuss outmigration from Alabama’s rural areas and how projects like PACERS can help students see a future for themselves in their rural communities. Community documentation projects provide entrepreneurial opportunities for areas that have been hardest hit by the economy and outmigration.
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