REAP, the first federal education program dedicated to support rural schools and districts, was created in recognition of the unique challenges these districts face compared to non-rural districts due to limited resources and capacity.
“We encourage Congress to continue to stand behind this unique federal education program that empowers school districts throughout rural America to better support their students, educators and communities,” said David R. Schuler, executive director, AASA. “The challenges young learners face in many rural areas are staggering. With more than 9 million students learning and growing in these areas, it’s mission critical that AASA advocates for K-12 rural school districts, especially since many of them face varying levels of poverty.”
This summer, AASA surveyed more than 350 district leaders from 33 states, who participated in REAP for Fiscal Year 2023 to better understand:
- How REAP funding is used at the district level.
- The amount of funding that districts receive under the program.
- District leaders’ perspectives of the program and how it could be improved.
Key findings include:
- More than half (56%) of respondents used REAP funding for purchasing technology, devices and software.
- More than one-quarter (27%) of respondents used REAP funding for professional development for teachers and staff.
- One-fifth of respondents (20%) used REAP funding to invest in greater staff compensation and expand curricular offerings (STEM courses, art education, etc.)
- District leaders were least likely to dedicate REAP funding to resources for their school libraries, supports for English learners/migrant students and activities designed to increase access to high-quality advanced coursework. (One explanation for the low percentage for support for English Language Learners could be that participating districts don’t have a large population of ELLs and, therefore, these investments are not necessary.)
“Given that the Rural Education Achievement Program is the only one of its kind aimed specifically to support rural school districts, we greatly appreciate the school districts that participated in our report,” added Schuler. “That data drawn from this survey demonstrates the importance of REAP to school system leaders working in these communities.”
Click here to access a copy of the View From The District: Rural Education Achievement Program. For specific questions about the report, contact Tara Thomas, AASA policy analyst, at email@example.com.
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.