School-Community Connections: Bridging The Community And Institutional Contexts
Schools and communities can work together in many ways for mutual benefit: improved academic success and community vitality. In three papers, this dissertation presents evidence for the value of school-community interactions. The first paper highlights the possible synergy of the education, community studies, and institutional theory literatures as a way to theorize place-based education as a particularly beneficial type of school-community interaction. Separately, findings from a study of school-level decision making suggest that the most local communities are as, if not more, influential on educational administrators as their broader institutional and professional environment, which runs counter to literature on the topic (e.g., Arum, 2000). Finally, findings from a case of a single elementary school situated in a larger set of communities describe the multiple ways a community can be defined from the community and school perspectives and emphasize the function of the most local professional environment for school leaders. Additionally, this case offers a description of the partnering activities of one isolated school. Together these three papers argue that the most local community in which a school exists can be a valuable partner and play a role in school-level decision making. These activities and others can enhance school-community connections in order to benefit students, families and communities.
Education; Institutional Theory; School-Community Partnerships
Sipple, John W
Peters, Scott; Hirschl, Thomas A
Ph. D., Education
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis