Potential Synergy: Rural School Districts and International Student Programs

Hope G. Casto, Alexandra Steinhauer, Pamela M. Pollock

Abstract


Many rural school districts face declining enrollments. A few districts have taken the unusual path of recruiting international students in order to boost their enrollments. This study examines a community using this strategy and the resulting financial, academic, and social situations for the school, community, and students, both local and international. The program has two goals: to increase both enrollment and diversity in the school. The benefits and challenges are discussed in light of the social and academic spheres of the school experience. The future of the program is considered, especially in connection to community fears of school closure or consolidation. Issues of professional development for teachers and programming for students are described. Recommendations for districts considering an international student program are included. This work contributes to a better understanding of the potential synergy between schools and communities.

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