Date of Award

Fall 11-3-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Stephen Gould

Second Advisor

David Nurenberg

Third Advisor

Ryoko Yamaguchi


This multi-method study examined survey and interview data collected from current K-12 school leaders in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Southeastern Massachusetts to determine the role school leaders play in creating a learning ecosystem through school-community partnerships. This study included three research questions that inquired about the degree to which principals believe school-community partnerships improve schools, the ways partnerships are currently developed, and the identification of factors and conditions that promote or inhibit partnerships. Data was collected in three phases, including survey responses from 25 school leaders, followed by interviews with five respondents, with the final phase consisting of document reviews to inform the development of two case study vignettes. Five themes emerged from the data: providing opportunities for students, staff, and family; aligning efforts and approaches; developing and maintaining relationships; sharing resources and building capital; and establishing strong public relations. Case study vignettes were then developed with the findings from the case studies detailing the perspectives and approaches of current school leaders in terms of school-community partnerships. Findings reveal that school leaders utilize partnerships that have a clear purpose, are connected to goals of the school, and that also provide opportunities for students, staff, and the community. Additional findings illustrate that school leaders built on already existing structures and relationships to develop and maintain partnerships, as well as, use approaches that are geared toward building social capital for their school community. Further findings also demonstrate that school leaders rely on planning and prioritization strategies as important supports for partnerships and that school leaders view partnerships as mechanisms to expand the messaging of their schools.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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