Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

The Role of Intermediary Organizations in Sustaining Student Voice Initiatives


by Dana L. Mitra — 2009

Background/Context: The sustainability of change efforts continues to be an important and challenging question in educational research.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: By examining 13 programs aimed at increasing student voice in school reform, this article examines conditions that enable and constrain the sustainability of this challenging form of educational change.

Population/Participants/Subjects: The 13 high schools in this study all received grant funding from a local foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area to work on building a student voice initiative in their school. All the grant recipients and their schools in the sample were situated within an urban environment, either within an inner city or a bedroom community in the Bay Area that possessed urban characteristics of the region. These characteristics include an ethnically diverse population comprising students of Asian, Latin, African, and European descent, insufficiently funded public schools, and high concentrations of poverty.

Intervention/Program/Practice: When placed into practice, student voice initiatives provide youth with opportunities to participate in school decision-making that will shape their lives and the lives of their peers. Student voice can range from the most basic level of youth sharing their opinions of problems and potential solutions, to allowing young people to collaborate with adults to address the problems in their schools, to youth taking the lead on seeking change.

Research Design: This study consists of a multiple case study designed for the purpose of explanation building.

Data Collection and Analysis: Semistructured telephone interviews served as the primary data source for this article. Observations, documents, and external evaluations served as validity checks and sources of triangulation for this study.

Findings/Results: The data indicate that the persistence of a student-voice effort after the initial influx of funds and support disappeared requires support from an intermediary organization (IO)—an organization located outside the auspices of school walls. IOs can help with fostering a clear and long-term vision, providing a more stable source of leadership, identifying ongoing financial and collaborative resources, and building a network for knowledge generation and sharing.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Although they are a part of many reform initiatives, partnerships with IOs are usually considered to be short-term relationships during the implementation phase of an initiative. This research instead suggests that IOs might be better suited as long-term partners in many change efforts. An awareness of the important roles that IOs can play in the long-term work toward change could help researchers, practitioners, and policy makers think more intentionally about how to plan for stabilizing such partnerships as an avenue toward sustaining reform initiatives.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase The Role of Intermediary Organizations in Sustaining Student Voice Initiatives
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 7, 2009, p. 1834-1870
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15309, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 3:42:43 AM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools

Related Media


Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Dana Mitra
    Pennsylvania State University
    E-mail Author
    DANA L. MITRA is assistant professor in the department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include student voice, youth–adult partnerships, and high school reform. She has recently published a book with SUNY Press entitled Student Voice in School Reform: Building Youth-Adult Partnerships That Strengthen Schools and Empower Youth.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS