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Maintaining rural community economic viability, schools, and retaining youth are concerns for many rural areas. The current population shift from rural to urban areas is compounding the issue. One means of keeping young people and adults in rural communities and encouraging people to move from urban to rural communities is to provide high quality, relevant, affordable educational programs on demand. The Mead Agricultural Sciences Magnet School, the first rural magnet school, was created to fill such a void. Now in its third year of operation, the rural agricultural sciences magnet school concept is being incorporated into three other communities.
The purpose of building a rural community magnet school network is to increase the number of young adults living, employed, and investing in rural areas. The objectives are to: (1) incorporate the magnet school model of the Mead Agricultural Sciences Magnet High School into three other communities; (2) design new curricula and redesign existing curricula for distance delivery and compatibility with the four schools and communities; and (3) assess the success of the network for adaptation into other rural communities interested in revitalization.