Preparing Rural Students for Success Beyond High School

Preparing Rural Students for Success Beyond High School
Preparing Rural Students for Success Beyond High School


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) brought a group of federal policy leaders to North Carolina to examine how rural education systems are providing high quality instruction and improving the readiness of young people for life beyond high school. This fact finding mission is part of a series of trips planned for policymakers to improve policy for college and career readiness and success, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Trip participants included Congressional staff, Department of Education officials, and representatives of national education organizations. Discussions and site visits provided rich examples of how resources are being utilized to address the challenges facing rural areas. Participants learned about how federal and state policies and funding streams affect rural school districts; the unique challenges of providing high quality instruction in rural settings; and innovative approaches to providing comprehensive education in rural communities.

This learning exchange took place starting on the evening of Monday, February 15th, and concluded on the evening of Wednesday, February 17th.  In addition to discussions with school leadership, educators, and students during our site visits, trip participants also heard from high-level state and local policy leaders, as well as other stakeholders committed to improving college access and preparedness for life for all of North Carolina’s youth.

Trip participants visited two innovative rural high schools that are leveraging state and local resources to provide a high quality, comprehensive education to youth.  Site visits included Warren New Tech High School in Warren County and Sampson Early College High School in Sampson County.  Warren County New Tech High, open since 2007, is a small, redesigned high school that engages students in project-based learning. Warren New Tech is one of three high schools that students may choose to attend in a district of approximately 2,800 students in northeastern North Carolina. Sampson Early College High was opened in 2005 on the campus of Sampson Community College, and enables students to gain postsecondary credit and training in careers important to the local economy while they are in high school. Sampson County serves approximately 8,000 students in south-central North Carolina.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Click here to read the full report (Policy Brief) on this study mission





The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.