About ARSI

Stemming from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Rural Systemic Initiative (RSI) program, ARSI prepares students in rural and economically disadvantaged school districts in Appalachia to take advantage of the exciting unprecedented opportunities of the information age by achieving greater understanding of mathematics and science. This unique initiative, designed specifically for this region, impacts rural, isolated areas where at least 30 percent of school-aged children live in poverty. ARSI's targeted area includes 66 counties within Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.


ARSI increases awareness of resources by providing teachers the opportunity to participate in local state-of-the-art workshops that focus on improving students' problem-solving skills.

Ideas for bringing effective teaching strategies into the classroom are shared with individuals who are vital to systemic impact in the region. Superintendents, district liaisons, administrators, principals, and curriculum specialists gain a deeper understanding of the teacher's mission in the classroom which builds a strong, united team focused on improved classroom performance and greater student achievement in mathematics and science.

ARSI joins with communities, developing grass root partnerships with local community leaders whose awareness of the importance of mathematics and science education ensures a brighter future for the children of Appalachia. Parents, business and community leaders, teachers, and students form Community Engagement Teams to develop local leadership and to explore ways the community can assist its schools in the areas of mathematics and science.

ARSI's Goals

  • To strengthen the knowledge and skills of teachers in grades K-12 so they can teach mathematics and science more effectively.

  • To establish a timely and coordinated system for helping schools enhance their capacity to deliver active, standards-based teaching and learning environments on a long-term basis.

  • To build regional partnerships, local leadership and local community involvement and support for long-term educational improvements.

In collaboration with ARSI, district superintendents identify schools in their area to serve as catalysts for change in mathematics and science education. Outstanding local teachers who have demonstrated excellence in mathematics and science and have earned the respect of their peers, are identified to serve as ARSI Teacher Partners. ARSI provides support for part-time release from the classroom to allow Teacher Partners to
  • acquire more in-depth knowledge about mathematics and science,

  • plan and implement research-based instructional practices in their classrooms,

  • provide hands-on learning opportunities for their students,

  • serve as mentors with other teachers in their school and district, and

  • provide valuable resources for their colleagues.

Resource Collaboratives located at higher education institutions throughout the region partner with the teachers, schools, and communities to drive the effort to enhance mathematics and science instruction and to improve access to resources. Resource Collaboratives use national and local mathematics and science experts to provide Teacher Partners localized professional development opportunities. Experiencing high-quality teaching techniques and content enables Teacher Partners to create classroom lessons for their unique circumstances. They explore valuable instructional resources and the exciting possibilities available through modern technology.

Resource Collaboratives help Teacher Partners develop specific strategies for adapting instructional materials, aligning curricula, and analyzing students' needs based on mathematics and science assessment results. Teacher Partners, in turn, broaden ARSI's impact by sharing lessons learned through hands-on experiential opportunities with other teachers in their district.

ARSI promotes a learning environment that expects and enables a high level of achievement by all students. Students are inspired and are able to experience the joy of learning when they solve problems through experimentation, analyzing data, and discovering their own solutions. Through collaborative learning, students discover the satisfaction of becoming the authors of their own knowledge. The concepts and skills they learn are critical for daily functioning in an increasingly technological society.
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