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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 21 May 2024

Arielle K. Lentz, Alexus G. Ramirez, Amanda Pickett, Annastasia B. Purinton and Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple

Many researchers partner with schools but may be unfamiliar with practices for initiating contact and sustaining relationships with school leaders. Partnering with schools…

Abstract

Purpose

Many researchers partner with schools but may be unfamiliar with practices for initiating contact and sustaining relationships with school leaders. Partnering with schools requires significant effort from the researcher to nurture communication and trust. This can pose challenges for researchers who are new to the field, have relocated to a new university or need to rebuild relationships due to transitions in school staffing.

Design/methodology/approach

In this mixed-methods study, we interviewed and surveyed school and district leaders in Delaware to learn how researchers can best communicate and form relationships with schools and districts.

Findings

We found no singular best method exists to initiate contact with schools and districts. Rather, researchers should consider the unique needs of the local context. Leaders’ decision to participate in research was most influenced by their own interest in the research topic, alignment with schools’ needs and researchers’ willingness to build a relationship with the local education agency.

Originality/value

Despite broad acknowledgment about the importance of school–university partnerships, few studies directly engage educators in discussing their goals, preferences and needs when working with researchers. We sought to formalize an understanding of best practices researchers can consider when initiating contact and building relationships with schools, directly from the perspective of school and district leaders. Developing these understandings from practitioners ensures the information authentically represents the perspectives of those who researchers seek to connect with, rather than assumptions of the researcher.

Details

School-University Partnerships, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-7125

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 26 May 2020

Joelle Rodway and Elizabeth N. Farley-Ripple

Reflecting on professional learning networks (PLN) in rural and equity-seeking spaces, the authors foreground the importance of “relational space” in studying PLNs in this…

Abstract

Reflecting on professional learning networks (PLN) in rural and equity-seeking spaces, the authors foreground the importance of “relational space” in studying PLNs in this commentary. The authors argue that while the complexity of taking a relational approach is challenging, it offers an important and necessary perspective, one which is often implicit in the studies featured in this book but not explicitly considered. The chapter is organized around three broad concepts from social network theory – boundedness, connectedness, and mutuality – which serve as starting points for shifting our gaze from formal system structures to more deeply interrogating the informal relational spaces within PLNs. The authors conclude with a call to make use of network theory and methods on their own, and in complement to other literatures, to do so.

Details

Professional Learning Networks: Facilitating Transformation in Diverse Contexts with Equity-seeking Communities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-894-9

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Elizabeth N. Farley‐Ripple, Jeffrey A. Raffel and Jennie Christine Welch

The purpose of this paper is to present qualitative evidence on the processes and forces that shape school administrator career paths.

1907

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present qualitative evidence on the processes and forces that shape school administrator career paths.

Design/methodology/approach

An embedded case study approach is used to understand more than 100 administrator career transitions within the Delaware education system. Semi‐structured interview data were collected from 48 principals and assistant principals. Coding and analysis occurred through an iterative process, revealing patterns in processes and forces influencing the careers of school administrators.

Findings

While some career decisions are self‐initiated, most are influenced in part or entirely by other actors in the system, described as recruiting/tapping, requesting, reassigning, passing over, and removing. In self‐initiated decisions to move or stay, a number of “pushes” and “pulls” are identified. Findings also suggest the decision to stay‐equilibrium is driven by relationships with students and by district support.

Research limitations/implications

Data are limited to Delaware and represent the voices of principals and assistant principals only. Patterns evident in the data suggest a need to further investigate administrator career behavior qualitatively, as well as directions for future research.

Practical implications

There is a need to better understand and improve local human resource processes in terms of recruitment and assignment of administrators. Additional research is needed to better identify processes and forces related to career decisions in order to improve leadership recruitment and retention.

Originality/value

This research represents the first large‐scale qualitative study of administrator career behavior and is an important companion to recent quantitative analyses in this area.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 50 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 26 May 2020

Abstract

Details

Professional Learning Networks: Facilitating Transformation in Diverse Contexts with Equity-seeking Communities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-894-9

Book part
Publication date: 31 January 2022

Elizabeth Zumpe

This chapter examines the potential and barriers for evidence-based practices in Californian schools. In a large and complex school system, the state plays an important role in…

Abstract

This chapter examines the potential and barriers for evidence-based practices in Californian schools. In a large and complex school system, the state plays an important role in legitimating the use of certain types of evidence, but evidence-based practices are heavily determined by the resources, actors, and prevailing cultures in a local district environment. Until recently, high-stakes accountability policies mandated improvements in student test performance and intrusive interventions for failure. In recent years, the state has shifted to a different accountability approach that emphasizes local control and the use of multiple measures of school performance to pursue continuous improvement around locally developed goals and interventions. Amid this context, two stories arise about evidence-based practices in California. In one story, a set of major and highly touted districts have led the way in demonstrating evidence-informed continuous improvement district-wide. In these districts, the new state accountability approach, enabling leadership, long-term commitments to collective learning, networked opportunities to learn, and access to elite external expertise have contributed to fairly extensive practices of disciplined team problem-solving involving rich data. In a second story, schools and districts that face resource scarcity, high turnover, and conflict and in which past high-stakes accountability left a deep imprint on prevailing norms and routines, leaders and teachers have had difficulty establishing a conducive context for collective learning. However, given ingrained practices and limited absorptive capacity, it is not entirely clear how to enable productive evidence-based practices in such contexts.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-141-6

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Amanda Cooper, Stephen MacGregor and Samantha Shewchuk

This scoping review utilizes findings from 80 articles to build a research model to study research-practice-policy networks in K-12 education systems. The purpose of this study…

Abstract

Purpose

This scoping review utilizes findings from 80 articles to build a research model to study research-practice-policy networks in K-12 education systems. The purpose of this study was to generate a broad understanding of the variation in conceptualizations of research-practice-policy partnerships, rather than dominant conceptualizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Arskey and O'Malley's (2005) five stage scoping review process was utilized including: (1) a consultative process with partners to identify research questions, (2) identify relevant studies, (3) study selection based on double-blind peer review, (4) charting the data and (5) collating, summarizing and reporting the results in a research model identifying key dimensions and components of research-practice partnerships (RPPs).

Findings

Coburn et al. (2013) definition of RPPs arose as an anchoring definition within the emerging field. This article proposes a model for understanding the organization and work of RPPs arising from the review. At the core lies shared goals, coproduction and multistakeholder collaboration organized around three dimensions: (1) Systems and structures: funding, governance, strategic roles, policy environment, system alignment; (2) Collaborative processes: improvement planning and data use, communication, trusting relationships, brokering activities, capacity building; (3) Continuous Learning Cycles: social innovation, implementation, evaluation and adaptation.

Research limitations/implications

By using a common framework, data across RPPs and from different studies can be compared. Research foci might test links between elements such as capacity building and impacts, or test links between systems and structures and how those elements influence collaborative processes and the impact of the RPPs. Research could test the generalizability of the framework across contexts. Through the application and use of the research model, various elements might be refuted, confirmed or refined. More work is needed to use this framework to study RPPs, and to develop accompanying data collection methods and instruments for each dimension and element.

Practical implications

The practical applications of the framework are to be used by RPPs as a learning framework for strategic planning, iterative learning cycles and evaluation. Many of the elements of the framework could be used to check-in with partners on how things are going – such as exploring how communication is working and whether these structures move beyond merely updates and reporting toward joint problem-solving. The framework could also be used prior to setting up an RPP as an organizing approach to making decisions about how that RPP might best operate.

Originality/value

Despite increased attention on multistakeholder networks in education, the conceptual understanding is still limited. This article analyzed theoretical and empirical work to build a systematic model to study RPPs in education. This research model can be used to: identify RPP configurations, analyze the impact of RPPs, and to compare similarities and differences across configurations.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

Keywords

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