Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Education, Leadership and Public Service

Program

Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor/Chairperson

Dr. Bethney Bergh

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Lubig

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Johnson

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine small rural school districts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in order to better understand how they serve their local communities, both today and in tomorrow’s evolving world. Seven rural school districts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were part of the study. Characteristics of effective financial and resource management were analyzed from school district data, as well as interview data, to further understand what it takes to keep districts working. An exploration of how students’ needs are being met by the district was also done through school district and interview data. My research resulted in themes ranging from the struggles of dealing with unpredictable funding and financial constraints to the proud sharing of strengths of small rural schools. Small rural schools are surviving, and with quality leadership, will continue to thrive. With that said, advocacy for rural education is increasingly important in today’s dynamic educational environment. It is through those that are passionately serving these small rural districts, and the benefits of further research, that we may continue to learn more about how to sustain and advocate for the importance of rural schools and rural communities, and our part in the sustainability of both.

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