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Rural and Gifted? Yes Please! Call for Proposals!

Have you heard the news? Theory and Practice in Rural Education is running a special issue on Rural Gifted Learners!!

If you are a researcher or practitioner in rural education, please consider a submission for this double-blind peer reviewed publication! If you don't have any ideas brewing right now... you can serve as a reviewer, contact me for details!

Here's the details:

Theory & Practice in Rural Education (TPRE)

Call for Special Issue on Rural Gifted Learners

Guest Editor: Angela M Novak, Ph.D. (East Carolina University)

Gifted Rural Learners: Exploring Power, Place and Privilege with a focus on Promising Practices

In order to teach, we must know our students: cognitively, affectively, and culturally. One factor in cultural identity is geography: how does area influence who you are (Gollnick & Chinn, 2013)? This is strongly evident in rural gifted settings. Themes emerge in the study of gifted rural learners, stemming from what Richards and Stambaugh describe as the essence of rural (2015): sense of place, value of tradition, role of family, role of religion, and commercialism and definitions of success. The pull of home can conflict with the push of opportunity, as the rural setting may provide challenges to education and access for gifted learners.


Challenges to rural gifted learners increase exponentially when gifted and rural is combined with a third descriptor. Donna Ford describes finding gifted rural Black and Hispanic students like “finding a needle in a haystack” (2015, p. 71). This could be traced to what was once considered a politically correct way of describing students- low-income Black students labeled urban, and low-income White students termed rural (Ford, 2015). Rural, however, does not equate with low-income as you view the rolling hills of Kentucky horse farms, nor does urban fit the perception of economically depressed, under the shade of highrises on the Upper East Side of New York, or in the neighborhoods of Tribeca. Thus, as the topic of gifted and rural is researched, an ideal approach even as we consider themes and understandings across gifted rural populations, is to consider the intersectionality of gifted, rural, and “X”. Teaching Tolerance defines intersectionality as “the social, economic and political ways in which identity-based systems of oppression and privilege connect, overlap and influence one another” (Bell, 2015, p. 38). Ford recommends approaching gifted rural education through a multicultural focus: culturally responsive teaching, with components of philosophy, learning environment, curriculum, instruction, and assessment (2015). This is not to say that poverty is not a challenge to rural areas; 70% of counties that are considered high child poverty counties are rural, a disproportionality considering 63% of counties are rural. An even higher percentage- 77%- of persistent child poverty counties, marked by at least four decades of high child poverty, are rural counties (Mattingly & Shaefer, 2015). It is important, however, to recognize that the rural context is not homogenous, and that rural education can be viewed through a dynamic lens, recognizing the strength in the concepts of place, family, belonging, and tradition.

Power, Place, Privilege, and Promising Practices

The purpose of this themed issue of Theory and Practice in Rural Education is to explore the ideas of power, place, privilege, and promising practices, as they relate to gifted learners in rural settings. Research and theoretical articles are invited, as well as practitioner focused articles and digital project submissions. TPRE also accepts submissions in Spanish. Please see the author guidelines (linked below) for full details.

This issue explores the complexities, dynamic practices, and challenges facing rural schools and universities as they design, implement, and evaluate gifted programming. Articles might address issues such as:

· identification,

· social justice and gifted education in rural settings

· gifted service models in rural settings,

· the role of place in gifted curriculum,

· training and support for gifted and classroom teachers in cultural responsiveness, gifted pedagogy, and specific rural teaching strategies,

· importance of relationship building between gifted specialists and classroom teachers,

· fidelity of implementation of gifted programming or curriculum models,

· the use of local norms in the gifted identification process in rural settings,

· effectiveness of mentoring, coaching, co-teaching, or other gifted specialist roles in rural schools

· intersectionality of rural schools, poverty, and culturally, linguistically or ethnically diverse (CLED) students and their underrepresentation in gifted programs

Those interested in being considered for this special issue should submit a full manuscript to the TPRE system ( by February 28, 2020. Questions about possible topics or ideas should be sent to Angela Novak ( All submissions will go through the TPRE process of double-blind review by experts in the field.

Estimated Timeline

· Manuscripts Due:

o February 28, 2020

o accepted on a rolling basis up until the close date

· Double Blind Review Process:

o Approximately 2-month turnaround (March/April)

· Articles selected for Revise/Resubmit or Minor Edits:

o Revise/Resubmit Deadline: 45 days from receipt of feedback (May/June)

· Second (limited) Double Blind Peer Review Process from resubmissions:

o Approximately 1-month turnaround (July)

· Final selection of articles selected for Minor Edits:

o Deadline: one month from receipt of feedback (August)

· Expected Publication Date: October 2020


Bell, M.K. (2016, Summer). Teaching at the intersections: Honor and teach about your students’ multiple identities. Teaching Tolerance Magazine, 53, p. 38-41.

Ford, D.Y. (2015). Like finding a needle in a haystack: Gifted black and Hispanic students in rural settings. In T. Stambaugh & S. M. Wood (Eds.) Serving gifted students in rural settings (pp. 71-90). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Gollnick, D. M. & Chinn, P. C. (2013). Multicultural education in a pluralistic society. Columbus, OH: Pearson Education.

Lewis, J.D. (2009). The challenges of educating the gifted in rural areas. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Mattingly, M.J. & Schaefer, A. (2015). Education in rural America: Challenges and opportunities. In T. Stambaugh & S. M. Wood (Eds.) Serving gifted students in rural settings (pp. 53-70). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Richard, Z.J. & Stambaugh, T. (2015). National context of rural schools. In T. Stambaugh & S. M. Wood (Eds.) Serving gifted students in rural settings (pp. 1-21). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.



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