Advocacy for our small town and country schools continues to ground AIRSS. Over the years, we’ve been able to grow the strength and impact of this advocacy as we elevate your voices and perspectives to public officials, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and all others who strive to support the needs of rural and small schools.

Through our partnership with the Western Illinois University Seymour Center for Rural Education, the National Rural Education Association, and countless leading rural education experts nationally, AIRSS is excited to further cultivate a new area of research in our advocacy. Rural education research that we have collaboratively and thoughtfully conducted with you has already played a major role in the Rural IL CTE Project, and we look forward to launching more research efforts in the future.

Please learn more about our efforts to advocate on your behalf below, and be on the lookout for invitations to participate to ensure your district is part of the effort.

Rural Education Advisory Council

AIRSS worked for several years to create, through legislation, the Rural Education Advisory Council in Illinois. In 2023, this vision came one step closer to reality with the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 1787 (Public Act 103-0457).

Thanks to an intergovernmental agreement between AIRSS and the Illinois State Board of Education, we have the opportunity to support schools in providing a high level comprehensive needs assessment and equity gap analysis of CTE programs in rural districts.

The Arlington and Arlene Seymour Center for Rural Education is the only “rural education center” with a sole focus on the topic in the state of Illinois. The opening of the CRE signifies the next step forward in our collaborative partnership with Western Illinois University to support schools and uplift education state-wide.