ERIC Number: ED410652
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Community in Research, Theory and Practice: Implications for Schools.
Kratzer, Cindy C.
Recently, a line of conceptual and empirical research has begun to investigate the notion of schools as "communities." Following a survey of works on this idea of community in research and theory, this paper presents findings of a single-site case study conducted during 1995-96 in an urban elementary school in Los Angeles. Data-collection methods included participant observation; interviews with parents, students, teachers, and administrators; and document analysis. In 1993, Jackson Elementary Schools faculty and staff voted to participate in a new restructuring initiative called Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now (LEARN). The study found that the community at Jackson resembled Selznick's (1992) concept of "primary groups." The process of cultivating community and effectiveness at Jackson involved careful hiring of teachers, positive instructional leadership along with appropriate delegation of authority, timely response to felt needs, ongoing reflective dialogue about student learning and pedagogy, and an academic press that continually sought to improve. These priorities, in the context of a culture that fostered trust, caring, and ownership and a structure that enabled such values to thrive, helped Jackson personnel to build a school that was both effective and a truly caring community. One figure is included. (Contains 70 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).