The Development and Multi-Level Analysis of A Conceptual Framework of School-Community Collaboration
thesisposted on 2016-02-16, 00:00 authored by Keith J. Zander
Despite a recent increase in political and financial support for school-community collaboration(s) (SCC(s)), most schools function in isolation from the neighborhoods in which they are situated, and have become increasingly so over the last century (Merz & Ferman, 1997; Warren, 2005). One of the largest deterrents to the widespread development of effective SCCs is the lack of a comprehensive literature to support stakeholders as they engage in this difficult work. Accordingly, the present study attempts to advance the conceptual and empirical understanding of SCCs through the quantitative analysis of survey data collected from teachers working in schools that are engaged in collaborations with local community-based organizations. The primary goal of this study is to provide initial empirical support for the use of the Collaborative Capacity Framework (Foster-Fishman, Berkowitz, Lounsbury, Jacobson, & Allen, 2001) to evaluate and implement SCCs. The CCF proposes to identify and organize the core competencies and processes needed for school and community stakeholders to promote effective collaboration and positively influence student outcomes. Construct validity of the CCF was partially established through: (a) robust factor loadings for over 90% of the included items, (b) statistical indices that exceeded the recommended thresholds for strong model fit, and (c) relatively low inter-factor correlations at the individual- and school-level, providing initial evidence that the three CCF Components (Member, Relational, and Organizational Capacity), may be both empirically and conceptually unique. Convergent validity was determined through positive and significantly greater than zero inter-factor correlations, as well as moderate to strong correlations between each CCF factor and stakeholders’ perceptions of SCC effectiveness. Based on these findings, a number of actionable recommendations are provided for researchers and practitioners attempting to implement and evaluate SCCs.