ERIC Number: ED448004
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Making the Collaborative Process Work. (Benefits)[Squared]: The Exponential Results of Linking School Improvement and Community Development, Issue Number Six.
Joint rural school-community projects are best sustained when developed by a collaborative group. The two basic dimensions of working collaboratively are team building and team planning. Critical elements of the collaborative process are: 1) community readiness--an assessment of community readiness should be performed, taking into consideration local leadership, collaborative experience, the complexity of the initiative, and the maturity of the organizations involved; 2) membership--since a broad base of community representation is critical to a collaborative's credibility, those outside the established circles of influence should be included; 3) leadership structures--leadership that suppresses group initiative should be avoided, and a shared leadership structure is recommended; 4) decision making--a shared, or consensus, decision making process is recommended, with subsets of the group making only limited, logistical decisions; 5) outside facilitators may be helpful if there is little history of community collaboration or there is a polarization or lack of trust among participants; 6) communication and conflict--participants must pay careful attention to the meanings they ascribe to words, and the decision making process should give participants permission to disagree and use conflict and its resolution as a constructive means of moving forward; and 7) accessing resources--start small and be creative. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory has a toolkit and guide for rural school districts to use in collaborative efforts. (Contains 11 references.) (TD)
Descriptors: Community Involvement, Conflict Resolution, Cooperative Planning, Educational Cooperation, Elementary Secondary Education, Leadership Styles, Participative Decision Making, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, Teamwork
Full text at Web site: http://www.sedl.org/prep/benefits2/issue6.
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.