Monday, October 10, 2011

Education Week Article

Susan Rhodes, The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program Counselor at Perry County High School, was interviewed recently by the publication "Education Week". In this article, Ms. Rhodes spoke about college access for rural students and the challenges they face. Click here to read the entire article, Helping Rural Students Leap Cultural Hurdles to College.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rural Education Roadmap

Report Outlines Specific Recommendations to “Transform the Rural South”

(Nashville) - The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) today released a report outlining specific recommendations to improve public education in rural communities in the South. The recommendations in Transforming the Rural South: A Roadmap to Improving Rural Education are based on research, best practices, and voices from rural communities across Tennessee and throughout the Southeast. The report, released jointly with the Ayers Foundation, Niswonger Foundation, Rural School and Community Trust, and the Tennessee School Boards Association, follows the Southeast Regional Rural Education Summit, which was held in Nashville on July 19-20, 2011.“In Tennessee and across the South, the success and economic vibrancy of our rural communities are critically tied to quality public education,” SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson said. “The priorities and action items detailed in this report serve to highlight not only what must happen inside the classroom and the school house, but also what needs to happen in the community to improve rural education.”The report outlines six priorities, with action items for each priority. The priorities include:
Highlighting the connection between education and economic development
Offering schools and districts more flexibility
Forming a pipeline of effective teachers
Using technology to meet instructional needs
Creating professional learning communities for administrators
Forming partnerships to enhance educational opportunities
The 34 action items in the report are targeted specifically to various education stakeholders. For example, school districts are encouraged to partner with nearby districts to recruit and retain highly effective teaching candidates who can serve as content specialists in critical subjects like reading and math across district lines. Local elected officials should make investing in public education the top priority to improve local economic development. The postsecondary community should enhance its teacher preparation programs to expose candidates to actual teaching settings in rural communities as a dual strategy to improve teacher effectiveness and recruitment to rural schools. Most importantly, business and community leaders should continue to stress the individual and community importance of obtaining a high school diploma and pursuing postsecondary training and education.“Rural communities face unique challenges in improving public education,” said Linda Irwin, Director of School Partnerships at the Niswonger Foundation. “This plan of action serves as a guiding document to give all stakeholders, from parents to school districts, a clear roadmap that is tailored to the unique rural environment.”The full report can be viewed here: State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with state and local governments to encourage sound policy decisions in public education and advance innovative reform on a statewide basis.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Southeast Regional Rural Education Summit

The Ayers Foundation was invited by SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education) to participate in a two day summit that covered a variety of topics as they relate to Rural Education. Read this article for final thoughts about the conference.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Riverside High School End of Year Celebration

More than 100 Riverside High School students were named Ayers Scholars during The Ayers Foundation annual End of Year Celebration Thursday. The Ayers Foundation provides last-dollar scholarships up to $4,000 per year to local high school students who wish to pursue post-secondary education. The Foundation also provides counselor support in an effort to make college more accessible to students. According to Bob Obrohta, Director of The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program, more than 85 percent of the 2011 class will be attending four year and two year institutions or technical schools. Nearly a dozen students plan to attend the local UT Martin Parsons Center.

Jim Ayers, who established The Ayers Foundation in 1999, spoke to graduates on the importance of becoming a success.“How you handle yourselves the next few years will determine the course of your life for the next sixty years,” Ayers told this year’s scholars. He encouraged them to study hard and get their degree, leading them on a path toward a successful life. “I want every one of you to promise yourselves,” he added. “This, you’re going to do right.” The Ayers Foundation has awarded more than $6 million in scholarships to more than 1000 students in the last 12 years.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scott's Hill High School End of Year Celebration

The Ayers Foundation Scholar's Program, now in its 12th successful year, hosted a celebration evening for the 2010 Ayers Foundation Scholars from Scott's Hill High School. Before The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program began less than 28% of students were attending a post secondary institution. Today, 96 percent go on to attend higher education after graduating. During the celebration, the 2010 graduates received personalized plaques from The Ayers Foundation. Bob Obrohta, Director of The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program and Belinda Reed, The Ayers Foundation Scholars Program Counselor from Scotts Hill High School presented the plaques. Belinda Reed also acknowledged scholarships that students have received from outside organizations and their future choice of college/university.

Jim Ayers, who founded The Ayers Foundation in 1999, challenged each student that the decisions they make right now will most likely affect the quality of their life for the next 60 years. "For tonight's purpose you are adults. One excuse has now been eliminated on whether or not you can continue your education - the excuse that you could not afford to go to school - but it is now up to each of you what you do with your future." stated Ayers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Ayers Foundation Offer Two Events for Teens

The Ayers Foundation recently hosted two events for high school students in Decatur, Henderson and Perry County. Be Your Own Hero "More to this Life" and "Maxmizie Your Strength" events encourage teens to find balance and set goals for their future. The events took place in Decaturville, Tennessee on April 28th and 29th. To read more about this event, click here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ayers Foundation mentioned in The Tennessean

The Ayers Foundation was highlighted in a recent article entitled "College Completion Goal Elusive" which spoke to Tennessee's need to graduate more students and the important role that both state policy and the private sector can have to increase the number of graduates. Click here to read the article in its entirety.