edWeb and CoSN will be launching an online community and series of edWebinars titled, “Tech for Rural Districts.” The program will leverage CoSN’s expertise and network of district leaders to help rural districts with the unique challenges and opportunities that they face with acquiring and implementing technology. A survey of 30 superintendents and CTOs from rural districts revealed four key challenges to implementing technology: broadband access, funding, people and understanding the “why.” At the same time, these districts have unique opportunities given their small size and tight-knit communities.
The program will focus on the specific needs, cultures and contexts in which rural districts operate and raise awareness of opportunities to address these four challenges. Approximately one-third of the children in the United States attend rural schools, and, of that population, over 20% live in areas of poverty. This webinar series intends to provide direct support to district leaders looking to create new opportunities for all of these students through the thoughtful implementation of technology programs.
Beth Holland, CoSN’s Digital Equity Project Director and Director of the Rural Schools Initiative will serve as the organizer, host, and moderator of the online community and series of edWebinars. The edWebinars will be panels of 2-3 leaders from rural districts who will share their experiences in this area allowing peers to learn from each other. The program will begin in the 2019-2020 school year.
Keith R. Krueger, CAE, Chief Executive Officer for CoSN, commented, “More than half of school districts are in rural areas and CoSN is committed to developing resources to support them. We are excited to partner with edWeb on this initiative, specifically designed to meet the unique needs of rural districts looking to take the digital leap.”
Lisa Schmucki, founder of edWeb.net, added, “I’m delighted that our partnership with CoSN to support the Empowered Superintendent Initiative is now going to be expanded to help rural districts with technology. Online community and collaboration helps everyone learn and move forward faster, and schools and students in rural communities need the equal benefits that come from being in a high-quality digital learning environment.”
For CoSN: Michael Kaplun, The Fratelli Group, 202-822-9491, mkaplun@fratelli.com
About CoSN 
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education. cosn.org
About edWeb.net
edWeb.net is an award-winning professional learning network that serves the global education community. edWeb provides free professional learning communities and edWebinars so educators can share their best ideas and practices to improve teaching and learning, student achievement, and school culture. Collaboration and peer-to-peer learning is one of the best ways we can accelerate innovation and the quality of education for all. edWeb is free for educators thanks to the support of education industry and policy leaders. Learn more at www.edweb.net. Follow @edwebnet.