Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report - (Page S12)

RURAL ENROLLMENT Clark Hults SUPERINTENDENT Newcomb Central School District, N.Y. BY DIETTE COURRÉGÉ CASEY S chool Superintendent and Principal Clark “Skip” Hults knew something had to change in 2006, when enrollment in his upstate New York school district dropped by two students. That meant only 55 students remained in Newcomb Central School, the remote district’s sole prekindergarten-through-12thgrade school, and the school’s continued existence might be in jeopardy. Another school might have considered consolidation. But that wasn’t a good option for Newcomb, nestled as it is in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, where winters are harsh and mountain roads can be dangerous for school buses. Hults, 57, came up with a different idea after talking with his brother, who lives in Australia: What if he recruited international high school students to his district? That was a major industry in Australia and other countries. Why wouldn’t it work in his rural school? Since that epiphany, Hults has transformed the school, nearly doubling its enrollment to 105 and hosting 60 students over five years from 25 countries, including Serbia, China, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. Recruiting tuition-paying international students has saved the school by bolstering its finances and population, and it’s changed its culture by exposing Newcomb students to diverse heritages and languages. It’s also redefined the meaning of “family” to the many residents who have hosted visiting international students. “I believe this has the potential to become a rural norm,” Hults says. “It’s a win-win.” LESSON LEARNED “[W]hen you change the culture, you have to go slow, you have to educate, and you have to explain what you’re doing and for what reasons. We started slow, and it became a cultural norm.” A former elementary school teacher and principal, Hults found his calling in education after working as a loan operations officer and a nonprofit business administrator. After spending 15 years in Arizona, Florida, and California, he and his wife returned in 2003 to the Adirondacks, where the school administrator’s family ties reach back three generations. Hults was named Newcomb’s school superintendent in July 2006, and he realized shortly thereafter that the district S12 | > LEADERS TO LEARN FROM EDUCATION WEEK • February 6, 2013 Heather Ainsworth for Education Week How It Works

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report

Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report
Dropout Reduction
English-Learner Education
School Turnarounds
Rural Enrollment
Special Education
District-Union Partnership
Parent Engagement
School Climate
College Readiness
Digital Access
Social Networking
Student Discipline
Smart Growth
Stem Education

Education Week - February 6, 2013 - Special Report