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Teach For America Initiative Tops List of Top Blog Posts of 2013

A Teach For America effort to help rural educators transition into principal positions was the most-viewed post on the Rural Ed blog in 2013.

Teach For America announced the creation of the Rural School Leaders Academy to develop teachers in rural areas and groom them for leadership posts. Many rural schools struggle with both recruiting and retaining educators, and this solution appeared to have broad appeal. Teach For America also has strong supporters and critics, so that's another reason this post likely attracted more readers.

It's interesting because a post with a similar theme—a new professional-development program to create teacher leaders— was the most read post in 2012.

As we wrap up 2013, here's a look at the most popular blog posts of the year.

1. Teach For America Looks to Grow Rural School Leaders

2. Rural Children Start Kindergarten With Lower Reading, Math Skills: A study using a nationally representative sample of children found rural children entering kindergarten have less advanced reading and math skills than those living in suburbs and small cities.

3. Scholarship Program for High-Achieving Students Looking for Rural Applicants: The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth has a scholarship program targeting rural gifted youth, and it had a tough time earlier this year finding 40 qualified students for its summer program. I suspect many rural ed advocates shared this post. Fingers crossed that it resulted in more applicants.

4. Study: Place-Based Math Education Easier to Teach than Practice: Place-based education, a teaching philosophy often used in rural schools, is easier to teach than to put into practice in rural math classes, according to a study. With the popularity of place-based education on the rise, it's no surprise this post drew readers.

5. Rural Schools Face Barriers, Promise by Moving to Blended Learning: Mostly rural Idaho teachers who had used blended learning for at least one semester found it benefits their instruction and students' learning. Students participating in blended learning take part of their lessons online, and have some control over when and where that happens.

6. Community School Model Seen as Valuable to Rural Areas: Community schools can help create more equitable conditions for learning and teaching in rural areas, says a national alliance that supports community-school partnerships.

7. Start of Deer Season Shuts Down Some Missouri Schools: Some Missouri schools shut down at the start of deer season because so many students skip school. I bet some of you were as surprised as I was to read this (and did I mention I'm from Louisiana, the Sportsman's Paradise?).

Rounding at the top 10 were posts about: two schools winning the first round of federal School Turnaround AmeriCorps grants; effective urban education reforms that might not work in rural schools; and high-achieving, low-income students who don't live in major metro areas are less likely to end up in highly selective colleges.

Happy New Year!

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