Sunday, June 28, 2009

The role of intermediary organizations in sustaining student voice initiatives

There's an article in the current Teachers College Record by Dana Mitra of Penn State, describing the importance of outside organizations in sustaining student voice initiatives in schools. You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing (about fifteen bucks a year, and well worth it), but here is the nickel version:
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.

The Role of Intermediary Organizations in Sustaining Student Voice Initiatives

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