Client: Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative

Authors: Mark St. John, Becky Carroll, Pamela Tambe, Samantha Broun

Type: Report

Publication: December 2000

The Story Of The Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (pdf, 21 pages)


This is the story of the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI), a five-year, National Science Foundation (NSF) funded effort to improve science and mathematics education in some of the poorest rural counties in the country. Our research group, Inverness Research Associates, was contracted by ARSI to serve as the external evaluators to the project. Our job has been to help document the work of the project, the realities ARSI staff have been confronting in doing their work, and the accomplishments of the project. Our work has largely consisted of visiting a sample of districts at select times over the course of the project, and providing feedback to ARSI staff based on our observations and interviews. To that end, we have written several evaluation reports detailing our findings. This project portrait is not meant to be another evaluation report. Rather we are providing this summary so that readers might have an abbreviated story of ARSI’s first five years. We want to try to capture and portray the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative in such a way that outsiders can understand the journey the project has taken, the nature of the challenges the project has faced along the way, and the progress the project has made in its efforts to assist districts in improving their math and science programs. The information used in this portrait is gathered from our five years of work with ARSI, as well as from additional interviews with key project leaders and a “lessons learned” conference held on rural systemic initiatives.

Intended Audience

Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Education Leaders, Teachers, District Administrators, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.