Supporting Montana’s Rural Schools & Communities

In January 1995 the MUS Board of Regents authorized the Center for Research on Rural Education (CRRE) at MSU-Bozeman  (BoR Policy and Procedures Manual Archive p. 218.4).  In Fall 2015, the Department of Education received the MSU Provost’s approval to revitalize the CRRE.  Under the leadership of Dr. Jayne Downey, the mission of the CRRE is to collaborate with Montana’s rural PK-12 schools/districts, universities, tribal colleges, and state agencies to conduct and disseminate research to support and strengthen rural education and leadership in the state of Montana and across the nation.

It is our firm belief that nothing is more central to Montana’s future than sustaining and strengthening the quality of our P-20 system of education.  The revitalization of the CRRE with a nationally-aligned research agenda plays a critical role in supporting this endeavor.  Through carefully constructed research, designed to build theoretical understanding and test solutions to problems of practice, MSU will continue to contribute to the ongoing vitality and success of Montana’s rural communities.

The current work of the CRRE is focused on three key areas:

  1. Research to Strengthen Preparation for New PK-12 Teachers & Administrators
    • CRRE research will identify how MSU can best recruit, prepare, and retain new teachers and administrators for work in rural communities;
    • CRRE research will guide the development of curricula and clinical experiences that will best prepare aspiring teachers and principals to serve effectively in rural communities;
    • CRRE research will provide data needed to strengthen our preparation programs and document the effectiveness of our graduates as they enter the PK-12 profession (required for State and National Accreditation);
    • CRRE research will contribute to the accomplishment of MSU’s Strategic Plan;
    • CRRE research will increase growth of research funding at MSU.
  2. Research to Provide Resources for Montana’s Rural Teachers and Leaders
    • CRRE research will identify current best practices in rural education; characteristics of effective teachers and administrators specific to rural settings; recommendations for effective use of technology in advanced coursework in rural settings; professional development and data literacy for rural teachers and administrators; recommendations for parent/family/community engagement and partnerships in rural schools; support for rural student transitions and college-going culture in rural settings.
  3. Research to Support Montana’s Communities
    • Educational research in and for Montana’s rural schools and communities
    • In light of the fact that 75% of Montana’s schools and 96% of our districts are classified as rural (Johnson, Showalter, Klein, & Lester, 2014), the CRRE will fill a critical need for rigorous educational research and in so doing, support Montana’s efforts to provide a high quality education for every child.