There are many factors to consider when designing a new program. The following resources were provided to the Rural Tech Project entrants during Phase 1: Open submissions. The resources below helped Rural Tech Project entrants develop thoughtful and comprehensive program proposals

Getting started

Here are a few simple steps to help you begin your submission:

  • Watch the Rural Tech Project virtual information session. This provides an overview of the challenge and provides answers to commonly asked questions. 
  • Read the Q&A summary. This summarizes answers to questions received on eligibility, submission requirements, and other elements of the Rural Tech Project.
  • Form a team. Identify the eligible school or local educational agency representative who will be your Team Lead and additional team members who will contribute to one or more submission areas (for example, your principal, superintendent, or community members).
  • Create a Luminary Lightbox account. This is where you will prepare and submit your program proposal. Your Team Lead can create the account and add other team members to collaborate on your submission.
  • Draft submission form responses. You and your team members can edit your submission and save your progress on Luminary Lightbox at any time until the close of submissions at 5:59 p.m. ET on October 8, 2020.

Submission form resources

The resources below are organized to correspond with the following submission form sections:

  • Entrant profile
  • Program overview
  • Career pathways
  • Implementation
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Team

Entrant profile

In this section of the submission form, you will describe what makes your community rural. Consult the following resources to:

Define rural

  • Search for your location on the Rural Opportunity Map (Center on Rural Innovation) to find out which definitions apply to your area.
  • Please refer to the Eligibility section of the Rules, Term, and Conditions for sample definitions of “rural.”

Program overview

In this section of the submission form, you will outline how your proposed program would be designed and delivered. Consult the following resources to:

Structure learning programs for careers

Assess mastery

Define a distance learning approach

Pull it all together

Career pathways

In this section of the submission form, you will identify the skills your program would focus on and the career pathways those skills can create for students. Consult the following resources to:

Understand career pathways

Identify target career opportunities

Connect secondary and postsecondary opportunities


In this section of the submission form, you will put together the ingredients of a project plan, including approach, infrastructure, and resources required. Consult the following resources to:

Choose CBE tools

Assess your hardware needs

Test your connection speed

  • SpeedTest (Ookla) allows you to check internet speed in your current location.
  • School Speed Test (Education Superhighway) allows you to check your school’s internet speed remotely.

Stakeholder engagement

In this section of the submission form, you will consider how to engage community supporters and stakeholders in your program. Consult the following resources to:

Collect student feedback

Establish or strengthen school-community partnerships


In this section of the submission form, you will describe the unique expertise and skills of your team members. Consult the following information to:

Find additional team members

Are you looking for specific expertise to develop your Rural Tech Project submission? By completing this Entrant Teaming Resource form, you will be listed in a database of parties interested in forming, joining, or supporting a team. To support collaboration, this information will be distributed to prospective entrants who share contact information.

Identify potential Community Engagement Managers 

Entrants selected to run programs will receive implementation support from a paid Community Engagement Manager (CEM), hired by the challenge and valued at $100,000 per finalist. In the submission form, you will be asked to recommend one or more candidates for the role. Below is a description of the role and responsibilities, as well as recommended competencies.


CEMs will support needs identified by entrants to ensure that finalists successfully plan, run, refine, and report on their proposed programs. The CEM will serve their school(s) for the duration of the project. 


  • Plan. Help solidify the program plan and the technical assistance plan that the CEM will execute, based on the school and community’s needs. 
  • Run. Fill needed role(s) within the entrant team, such as team facilitator or external spokesperson. Responsibilities may include speaking and coordinating with local stakeholders, assisting with planning, and executing real-world experiential learning opportunities for students.
  • Refine. Support data collection and development of an iteration plan to improve implementation in the second academic year.
  • Report. Support data and feedback collection to ensure lessons learned are captured and available to share within and beyond the local communities.


While CEMs will not have extensive experience in every competency below, they should have skill or experience in some of the following areas:

  • Project management
  • Workforce development
  • Community engagement
  • Partnership/relationship management
  • Program development
  • Data collection, analysis, and reporting  
  • Group facilitation
  • Conflict mediation/resolution

Specific CEM competencies will vary with the specific needs of the entrant teams.


Prior to selection as a finalist, ED will review and approve the CEM, if one is proposed by an entrant.


This website contains information and resources from public and private organizations that may be useful to the reader. Inclusion of this information does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or Luminary Labs of any products or services offered or views expressed. Resources provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation. Resources do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum, or pedagogy.

This website also contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations, which are provided for the reader’s convenience. ED and Luminary Labs are not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.