ERIC Number: ED410642
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Creating and Sustaining Learning Communities: Early Lessons from Charter Schools.
Wohlstetter, Priscilla; Griffin, Noelle C.
There has been a rapid increase over the past 5 years in both the number of charter schools in the United States and the enthusiasm for the concept. Most research about charter schools has not addressed how charter schools create and sustain high-quality learning communities. This paper presents findings of a study that investigated how learning communities were created and sustained in 17 charter schools. The study examined how school missions were developed and translated into classroom practice; how charter schools learned from what they were doing; and what factors seemed to produce high-quality teaching and learning. The study identified four critical building blocks that charter schools tackled, with varying success, to create and sustain learning communities. The building blocks included the school mission, the school instructional program, the accountability system, and school leadership. The study also identified three enabling conditions that helped to explain variations in the success rates of the charter schools: the degree of school power/autonomy, the presence of supportive networks/organizations, and the presence of supportive parents. The paper offers tentative implications for both charter-school founders and sponsors, including a need for more detailed, concrete information from schools during the charter-application process, and clarification of the roles and responsibilities of charter schools within the state public education system, particularly with respect to accountability and technical assistance. (Contains 43 references.) (Author/LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Educational Governance, Finance, Policymaking, and Management (ED/OERI), Washington, DC.; Danforth Foundation, Clayton, MO.
Authoring Institution: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Philadelphia, PA.
Identifiers: Learning Communities
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).