Serving New York State students and school districts by building connections, capacity and knowledge

The Rural Schools Program connects Cornell knowledge with the Rural Schools Association’s mission to serve the small and rural school districts of New York State. With expertise spanning education policy, community sociology, statistical analysis, global development and more, our science team harnesses Cornell’s world-leading research to address the biggest issues facing public education across the state.


Rural school districts in New York State


Tools for visualizing data trends for New York State schools

The Rural Schools Program is committed to empowering school districts with the data and information needed to make the best decisions for students. Here’s some of what we do:

  • Explore research pertinent to small and rural school districts and disseminate results to public and decision-making bodies
  • Illuminate impacts on rural schools of policy at state and national level and make relevant  recommendations
  • Provide information to district members relating to staffing, curriculum, in-service training, instruction, family-school partnerships, school-community partnerships, student and family mental health and well-being, and general school management
  • Promote communication among program members
  • Conduct statewide conferences concerning the broad issues facing New York State’s small and rural school districts

Discover more about our work

Illustrated outline of NY state with connectivity lines

The primary data source for factors surrounding public education in New York State

A male walks a group of children toward a school bus

Building connections, capacity and knowledge for New York’s rural schools

Latest news

Empty chairs in a classroom

Field Note

New York rural schools respond as classrooms reopen
Government at both the state and federal levels recognized early in the pandemic that our schools were the primary and often only delivery system in place to support not only the education of children, but the health and welfare of the entire...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Desk with books and tablet

Field Note

New York state’s early response to the COVID-19 crisis contained a daunting directive to its public schools: Shut down now. On March 16, the state ordered schools to switch immediately from classroom instruction to remote teaching delivered...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Small, plastic action figures


Jon McKenzie is working with area school teachers and their students to address issues meaningful to them and their communities, using strategic storytelling, a variety of media-making and participatory research. His work encourages students to...
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Department of Global Development
  • Communication