by John Traynor & Deborah Tully - 2019
Background/Context: School–university partnerships, research–practice partnerships, and professional development schools represent three separate framings for the type of work outlined in this case study. These types of partnerships face various challenges as outlined in the literature, for the partnership as a collective and the partners at an institutional level. This case study contributes to this literature and provides potential policy implications through both the successes and challenges that are included.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The research focused on a partnership that received funding through a grant provided by the state legislature. This study explored the partnership between a local, public K–6 elementary and two private institutions of higher education, their teacher preparation programs specifically. The research focused on ways in which the partnerships improved both student achievement and teacher candidate preparation while also improving the overall school culture.
Research Design: This research design is a mixed-methods case study and analyzes the partnership and the influences that resulted at the school and the institutions of higher education. This discussion draws on anecdotal, qualitative, and quantitative data and observations to reflect on the impact of the work of the partnership.
Data Collection and Analysis: The resulting profile uses several sources of data: interviews and surveys (current and past participants), documents (meeting note summaries, planning documents, etc.), performance data (academic, attendance, and behavior), and participation data (i.e., teacher candidates placed at schools, extended learning opportunity participation, etc.).
Conclusions/Recommendations: The partnership outlined in this article benefited where the personnel were consistent throughout the life span of the project. Challenges were more acute when there were changes to personnel assigned to the partnership. In addition, having additional student supports, either in classrooms during the school day (i.e., math and literacy instructional time) or in the extended learning program after school, met the dual purpose of positively impacting student development (academic and social/emotional) and providing authentic learning experiences for preservice teacher candidates. This is a promising organizing framework on which to build these types of partnerships.
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