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Eric.ed.gov – Strengthening Partnerships: How Communication and Collaboration Contribute to School Improvement

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For most of the past decade, this author has studied union-management efforts to improve public education, and has witnessed extraordinary examples of teachers, union leaders, and administrators working together to improve teaching and learning. In this article, seven case studies on collaborative partnerships between teachers’ unions and administrators from districts located across the country and a mix of urban, rural, large and small schools are analyzed. He identifies themes and patterns common to all these districts: (1) Motivation for initiating collaboration; (2) Strategic priorities for improvement; (3) Supportive system infrastructures; and (4) Sustaining characteristics. Rubenstein then reports on the partnership attitude and climate survey data from the California Academic Performance Index (API), and social network analysis. The API includes standardized test results in math, English, social studies, and science, as well as graduation and dropout rates. Social network analysis explores who teachers and administrators communicated with on a regular basis, how they communicated, and what topics they discussed. When the data analyses were completed, the relationship of school-level partnerships (based on the partnership survey) with school-level collaboration (based on the network survey), Rubenstein found that those schools with the strongest partnerships also had the highest levels (density) of teacher-to-teacher communication, meaning that more teachers discussed student performance data, curriculum, articulation, instructional practice, and mentoring with one another in stronger-partnership schools than in weaker-partnership schools. The author concludes with recommendations for policymakers to implement in order to improve collaborative reform efforts. These partnerships take work and are difficult to sustain, but once a culture and system of collaboration is institutionalized, great results do emerge.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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