What do photographs really reflect?

Photographs stand as glimpses into our lives at different points in our journey. Chappell, Chappell and Margolis (2011) see pictures as “memories of seeing” (p. 56) and within an educational journey these pictures can reflect the “face” of the world today but also the ceremonies that many of us go through that shape our future. When I think about educational events captured in photographs, there are two “types” that come to mind for me: graduation and our class photographs.

From childhood, we are gathered every year for our class shot (or at least up to a point in elementary school and maybe junior high). Those pictures are a reflection not only of our own growth but can reflect the make up of a classroom (diversity, gender) but also be reflective of the times (styles, looks, etc). The experience is somewhat of a normative process: something that many (but not all) will have the opportunity to experience.  In that same vein, graduation serves as a transition point to the next stage of life for many young people. When I was growing up, I had two graduations – one from junior high, which signaled my transition to high school and one from high school that signaled my transition to college (or to becoming an adult as I saw it). When I look back at the pictures of these experiences, I think of what that signified to me as a growth opportunity and as an experience that both me as the learner and my family had all hoped for. I think we, as people, want the best for ourselves and our children. These educational experiences become tantamount to not only personal success but may even be considered as a success of the family.

Chappell et al (2011) related educational photographs to a play. In their terms, they indicated that the environment (school) may be the same similarly to how a play is the same but the changes in both of these are the people.  The article was rife with pictures from multiple eras which represented the changing times (racial diversity, gender diversity, etc.). Their notion is that the picture can tell a lot about the progression of our society and how the message of what we stand for could have changed as well. I like to think that we have become a more progressive society and that this is reflected in our societies but that would mean forgetting that there is still a lot of inequality in the world, not just around racial or gender dynamics but around sexuality and even in socioeconomic status and how that may influence who walks across the stage or moves beyond high school. I have worked in higher education for 10 years and I think back on student access – has everyone been given the opportunity to attend? Is it really access for all and if it’s not, are the pictures we take truly reflective of our society or just this segmented piece of it? Thinking through the pictures in the article, it also makes you wonder who are the ones capturing and, in turn, sharing/publicizing the pictures? The individual(s) holding that power are more likely to take it from what they see as relevant than what may actually be reflected in reality.

What will be most interesting for the future is how, in the age of Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, our journey will be reflected and captured when each moment is often the cause for a “selfie” or some other picture. I think through recent graduation at ASU. I sat on the floor with my students and snapped pictures, posting them for share on Instagram. Will these pictures be characteristic of who we are as people and what we stood for or more just a reflection of our society and what we think the “others” will want to see? Will our ability to connect with people from anyone in the world who have access to this technology (again the key is access) influence how we look at the world and the pictures we share back? Hard to say but interesting to see as an articulated story for future generations.


Chappell, D. Chappell, S. & Margolis, E. (2011). School as ceremony and ritual: How photography illuminates performances of ideological transfer. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(1), 56­73.

“Community” for online learning

Sadera, William A.; Robertson, James; Song, Liyan; Midon, N. M. (2009). The role of community in online learning success. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(2). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol5no2/sadera_0609.pdf


What are the effects of community in online education contexts, specifically on how students’ perceive their own success?  This is the question tackled by Sadera, Robertson, Song, and Midon in a 2009 issue of the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching.  The authors make a contribution to the online learning literature that has already established community as an important element of online learning, by studying how or what the effects are of community on perceived student success.


The paper’s readability is inhibited by both the lack of clarity in the research focus initially, and the significant typographical errors.[1]  Not until the “literature survey” do readers begin to understand that the focus is on students’ perceptions or feelings of their own success (vs. success as determined by observable factors, such as achievement [GPA or course scores], improvements in academic achievement, or retention), and then in the rephrasing of the study’s purpose in the Methods section introduction.  Otherwise, the study follows in a logical, coherent manner, typical of a report on social science research, i.e. the introduction is followed by an overview of relevant literature, methods, results, a discussion of findings, and a conclusion, inclusive of the study’s limitations and thoughts for future investigation.


Sadera et al’s work is framed by a sociocultural perspective, which guides their consideration of existing research on community and success in distance education.  They organize literature in three relevant areas of concentration.  The first explores how communities among people geographically disbursed are defined.  Commonalities among research studies in this vein indicate that communities involve a “shared purpose and the relationship among them including their sense of belonging, trust, and interaction” (p. 278).  The authors construct a definition of community that seems lacking, given the review of literature just prior presented.  It reads that a community is “a group of participants, relationships, interactions and their social presence within a given learning environment.”  They add that their definition excludes how communities organize and maintain themselves, i.e community is not defined as or by “the collection of technologies used to manage and communicate within the environment” (p. 278).  The weakness of this definition is striking, because what stands out in their presentation of existing literature on communities is attention to “sense of shared purpose” or “shared emotional connection,” “membership” or “common expectations and goals.”  Even a simple, generally applicable dictionary definition explicitly indicates the particular relevance of something shared or common, e.g.: “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”  Perhaps this isn’t influential to the research process, but how we define things are so important to our perspective, that it seemed worth mentioning the stated definition’s seeming deficiency.


The second category of literature the authors include confirms the positive relationship between community and perceived student learning.  They site two particular directions here: (1) a study on the importance or impact of community in different courses, which found no significant difference (though the scope of the study was limited – only two courses and in the same field were studied); and (2) sense of community and students’ perceived learning.  For this second orientation, the authors take up the Classroom Community Scale, an instrument designed specifically “to measure the sense of community in an online learning environment.”  (This tool is considered valid, as its reliability coefficient well exceeds the reliability coefficient Cronbach’s alpha accepted as the bar in social science research.)  Its application in other studies has shown a “positive relationship between students’ sense of community and their perceived learning success in online courses.”  The last area of existing research reviewed deals with community and interaction, “especially important in distance education…because it helps reduce feelings of isolation and contributes to the student success in online environments” (p. 279).  There are three types of interaction relevant to this context: interaction between the learner and the content, between the learner and the instructor, and between or among learners.


Data collection was organized around three areas of inquiry:

–        Is perceived learning affected by participation in the online community?

–        How does the sense of community affect perceived learning?

–        Does the amount and type of online interaction affect the feeling of membership in the learning community?

An online survey on a Likert scale was offered to undergraduate students attending an accredited US university, enrolled in online courses.  The authors had an 11.3% return rate on survey respondents, which left them with a sample of 121 participants, characteristically representative of “adult learners pursuing a technical undergraduate degree online” (p. 280).  Underlying survey questions were three objectives: (1) to collect demographic data, including previous experience in online courses; (2) to assess specific efforts to build community in the course, course design elements (including the instructor’s role), and the role of online technologies; and (3) student active participation in the course and community, including frequency of use of online technologies.


Data collection underwent a pilot several months before formal data collection, which contributes to the reliability of their approach.  SPSS was used to analyze data, as well as Pearson’s Correlation to address the three research questions in turn.  The researchers found a significant positive correlation between self-reported time spent on task and learning and their self-reported participation in learning activities and perceived learning.  In other words, the authors found a relationship between student’s active involvement in the online education community (however formed or described) and learning.  Next, they report positive correlation between students’ perceived learning and community (evaluated on connectedness scores).  Finally, their analysis of online technologies to interact found that only email had any significant impact on connectedness or learning.  In sum, the study finds that learner interaction and engagement, sense of community, and success in online learning are strongly correlated.


The authors make note of worthwhile research foci for the future, based upon the limitations of their study scope and their study’s findings.  Primarily, they indicate the importance of future research that asks the same general questions as this study: how community relates to success among online learners.  Research involving different populations (besides adult undergraduate students, comprising the sample of this study) would contribute to the literature.  Studying factors beyond what is specifically associated with the courses in the research scope, including activities a school or the broader environment might undertake to help cultivate a sense of community or elements of course design built with community-cultivation in mind, would support better understanding community and learning in an online environment.  Also, more research is needed on how online learners may experience community in different [types of] courses.  In the literature survey presented by the authors, a study by Rovai and Barnum is mentioned, which looked at students’ experiences in two online courses.  But, since the courses were in the same general field (education), and the overall scope was small, the findings are not generalizable.


Of particular interest for me, pursing the development of a junior/high school online education program, is the finding that email, not other online tools, such as chat and discussion boards, influenced students’ sense of community.  Given that students, in grades 7-12, in the pilot implementation of my program – a blended learning format, not fully online – find the use of email either incredibly arduous or highly undesirable, I am surprised.  This may point to the difference in online communication preferences between today and 2009, when the study was conducted.  Also,  it is likely that the adults in the study, irrespective of the era (acknowledging the rapid pace of technological change and use), use technologies and communicate differently than 12-19 year olds.  Exploring or hoping for future research on how K-12 students prefer to connect and how this influences their achievement is relevant to my work.


Also, I am especially interested in the study’s finding that learners with the experience of at least one online course did not experience community or connectedness in the same way as online learning novices.  The study found that these students seemed to find community at conferences more than in active participation in elements of their course(s) that might lend to a sense of community.  This reminds of the important finding of Liou, Antrop-González, & Cooper (2009) that students benefit academically from communities of practice that may be well outside of their academic environment.  Their community cultural wealth model highlights the importance of communities such as those created by students’ families or localities for student success.  Further investigation on how learners (particulary in grades 7-12) succed academically, in part through their role in and the characteristics of community within their online education context, will be important to my work, and that of online education in general.


Liou, D. D., Antrop-González, R., & Cooper, R. (2009). Unveiling the promise of community cultural wealth to sustaining Latina/o students’ college-going information networks. Educational Studies, 45(6), 534–555. doi:10.1080/00131940903311347


[1] For example, on page 278, the authors refer to the same research conducted by Rovia and Rovai.  Or, on page 279, a sentence that would make the point of the paragraph is left unfinished: “Not only does online interaction impact on students’ sense of community, but it is also found to be related to students’ learning success in.”

“Stars” Transition Program

Berlin, L. J., Dunning, R. D., Dodge, K. A., (2010). Enhancing the transition to kindergarten: A randomized trial to test the efficacy of the “Stars” summer kindergarten orientation program.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 247-254.

My area of interest for research and innovation is in the area of the transition period that children experience from home to kindergarten or from preschool to kindergarten.  Since the start of my studies this summer, I have read many articles in this area that have focused on the importance of successful transitions into kindergarten.  I have learned many practical ideas for implementation that would help support what research deems as the best practices in the area.  In my mind, I have started to apply what I have learned to the context of my own school and community.  I started asking myself, given my school and community demographics, strengths, and needs, what would a successful program look like for the students and families we serve?

I came across a research study conducted that researched a kindergarten transition program that mirrored the type of program that I can see being funded and implemented in my own school and community.  Berlin, Dunning & Dodge (2010), developed a transition program called “Stars” that was designed to help students with primarily their social transition into kindergarten.  The program focused on pre-academic skills such as pre-literacy and pre-numeracy, but mostly the focus was on school routines, the social aspects of kindergarten transition, and parent involvement (Berlin et al., 2010).  The program was held for four weeks in the summer prior to kindergarten.

Berlin et al., (2010) found that participation in the “Stars” program eased children’s’ social transitions as judged by kindergarten teachers.  When the children had the same teacher for kindergarten as they did in the “Stars” program, the significance was even higher (Berlin et al., 2010).  Although  there was not a significant effect in the area of academics, the researchers did remind readers that the focus was not on the academic piece, bur more on the social aspect of kindergarten transition.    The study also found that when compared to peers that did not participate in the “Stars” program, children that did participate in the program had an overall better ability to adapt to kindergarten expectations and routines (Berlin et al., 2010).  In further analysis of the results, the researchers in this study also noticed that the positive effects on the “Stars” program were more pronounced for girls compared to boys.  They attributed this effect to the possibility of greater male vulnerability to social stressors (e.g. Zaslow & Haynes, 1996) and teachers’ differential relationships with preschool age girls and boys and/or unmeasured processes (Berlin et al, 2010).   They also noted that the same gender effect occurred in previous studies, such as the Perry Preschool Project, Abecedarian, and Early Training Project (Anderson, 2008).  Although it is interesting to note that the same findings were not true with two recent and well know studies in early childhood transition.  These studies were the large-scale evaluation of the Early Head Start Program and the NICHD Study of Early Child Care (Berlin et al., 2010).

The methods of study and the findings of this study have helped me to think about my plan for innovation in my local community in the area of kindergarten transition.  The study authors noted in their conclusion that they felt that they could see benefit by having the study repeated but on a larger scale (Berlin et al., 2010).  The researchers felt that perhaps the smaller sample size limited their ability to use certain data gathering materials as well as limited the exploration of a wider range of moderated program effects.  Berlin et al, (2010) also recommended the use of more qualitative measures such as parent, teacher, and student interviews and questionnaires.

I can see the value in using these suggestions in my own research.  I believe that of given district support, I can implement an innovative, research backed program in many of our 59 elementary schools.  Although I am not sure what size samples are deemed acceptable for a larger sample size, I feel that I may have the opportunity to use a larger sample size in the South West area of my district.   Based on this study, I also think that it would be interesting to add a deeper qualitative research approach to capture the dynamics of the transition in regards to parent, teacher, and student feelings about their experiences.


Anderson, M. A. (2008). Multiple inference and gender differences in the effects of early intervention:  A reevaluation of the abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and Early Training Projects.  Journal of the American Statistical Association, 103, 1481-1495.

Berlin, L. J., Dunning, R. D., Dodge, K. A., (2010). Enhancing the transition to kindergarten: A randomized trial to test the efficacy of the “Stars” summer kindergarten orientation program.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 247-254.

Zaslow, M.S., & Haynes, C.D. (1986). Sex differences in children’s responses to psychological stress: Toward a cross-context analysis.  In M. Lamb, & B. Rogoff (Eds), Advances in developmental psychology (pp. 2890337). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

“Barbershop” as an Entity of Cultural Wealth

Short video clip here:

(Source: Story, T. (Director). (2002). Barbershop [Motion Picture]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_tNwz5Bxwk)

This weekend, the film Barbershop, starring rapper Ice Cube, was on television. One of my favorite movies, the film chronicles the everyday life of “Calvin”, played by Ice Cube, who has inherited his father’s barbershop. Not just your ordinary barbershop, a long-standing, well-known, “pillar of the community” barbershop opened by this father during the civil rights era. The cast is comprised of old and young men, loan sharks, criminals, congressmen, and other colorful characters that frequent the barbershop on a daily basis. Calvin, who has other aspirations of his own, is reluctant to keep the shop open, but is quickly schooled by “Eddie”, the senior barber on the staff, who reminds him of the history, purpose and value of the ‘shop, saying, “This is the barbershop! The place where a black man means something! Cornerstone of the neighborhood! Our own country club! I mean, can’t you see that? “Through this exchange, and other insights Calvin begins to understand that closing the shop would mean the demise of a major cultural institution in his predominately Black community (Story, 2002).

I saw a direct connection from this film to Tara J. Yosso’s (2005) article, Whose Culture has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth. While Barbershop is not about education inequity, the themes in the film have strong connection to cultural wealth in the Black community. Yosso (2005) uses Critical Race Theory in drawing attention to how minorities draw on the values, wisdom, and inspiration that are deeply rooted within their own cultural community. Yosso (2005) begins her sentiments by discussing the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1977), and his idea of cultural wealth to explain why minority students do not excel as frequently as White students. According to Bourdieu, students obtain capital through cultural means (i.e. language, education), economic means (i.e. finances, assets), or social means (i.e. “who you know”), and such capital is received from one’s formal education or through their family connection (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977). However, Yosso (2005) takes issue with Bourdieu’s position which openly presents the White, middle-class culture as the standard by which to judge others cultural wealth and value.

In my own life as a Black girl, I was responsible for getting my younger sister and myself to and from school every day. I was to cook breakfast, put our clothes on, pack our backpacks, lock the door, catch the city bus to the school, deliver my sister to her school, and walk to my own school. Our mother worked two jobs, so light grocery shopping, cooking dinner, answering the telephone, bathing my sister, homework, and bedtime were left up to me as well. Basically, I could manage our home! However, these skills were not as valuable as those obtained by my White classmates who had cars to take them to and from school, and whose parents could provide them with technology to help them excel in school, which was expected in the school system at that time. Today, my seven-year-old daughter is often assigned online homework. Again, this supports Yosso’s (2005) statement that White-middle class culture is considered the normative, excluding many marginalized who families do not own a home computer, nor do they have access to the internet, which is clearly the expectation in our school systems.

Yosso (2005) goes on to explain that Communities of Color foster cultural wealth on different principles than White communities do. Aspirational, familial, social, linguistic, navigational, and resistant capital are building blocks that create a foundation for rich, cultural capital in minority communities. Interestingly, Barbershop shows several of these types of capital within the movie. Many of the patrons talk about their dream jobs, goals, and plans for their futures while getting their hair cut (Aspirational). Calvin often leans on his wife for advice and moral support, while being reminded of the historical value of the barbershop by others (Familial).  Congressmen and lawyers who patron the barbershop, as well as citizens step up to help keep the ‘shop open, and the staff employed when the city attempts to tear down the business for upgrading by persuading officials to keep it open (Social). Finally, the patrons often come to barbershop not only to get their hair cut, but they also come for a weekly dose of strength and support  in dealing with racial and social injustice issues within their jobs, schools, and community (Navigational and Resistance).

So, while Barbershop’s script is not based on education, it does show the paradigm of cultural wealth in the Black community. Furthermore, educational entities should take note on how valuable such cultural institutions are and partner with them to help marginalized students succeed. Yosso (2005) draws upon Gloria Anzaldua’s (1990) sentiments of “de-academizing” educational theory putting it to practical use by connecting educational institutions to the community. Schools should partner with local churches, beauty shops, barbershops, athletic coaches, and recreational centers within marginalized communities to re-structure the mainstream standard of cultural wealth in an effort to see these institutions as valuable and practical for people of color; a concept I deeply agree with. After school tutoring programs could be held at neighborhood places of worship, or perhaps, “real world” learning credit can be earned for students who have part-time jobs, or who work in a family business. Recognition of cultural wealth is essential for change to happen.


Anzaldua, G. (1990). Haciendo Caras/making face, making soul: creative and critical perspectives by women of color. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Press.

Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J.-C. (1977). Reproduction in education, society, and culture. London: Sage.

Story, T. (Director). (2002). Barbershop [Motion Picture].

Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69-91. doi:10.1080/1361332052000341006

Learning to Respect Each Other in Learning Groups

In any classroom, it is important to establish a sense of community. In my own efforts to build classroom community each year with my kindergarten students, I first discuss the differences between our classroom expectations and routines and the routines and expectations at home. Once we establish that our experience together is unique and is different than what we experience outside of our classroom, the work of getting to know one another, appreciating one another, and recognizing how each individual contributes to our classroom community begins. When this is successful, even at the young age of five, children support each other with language that is taught explicitly and modeled, strengths of individuals are recognized, children feel confident in suggesting new ideas, and most importantly everyone is appreciated for who they are and what the bring to our community.

The importance of social interaction when learning and constructing knowledge has been well documented by researchers in the field of education (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking, 1999; Greeno, Collins, & Resnick 1996). Extended discussion of ideas and collaboration of groups can lead to higher levels of reasoning (Hogan, Nastasti, & Pressley, 2000).

In our readings this week, I noticed a link between the article on cultural capital by Tara J. Rosso (2005), the study on managing uncertainty by Michelle E. Jordan and Reuban McDaniel Jr. (2014), and classroom community building. In their research study, Managing Uncertainty During Collaborative Problem Solving in Elementary School Teams: The role of Peer Influence in Robotics Engineering Activities, Jordan & McDaniel (2014), studied the roles of peer interaction in collaborative problem solving.

Jordan and McDaniel (2014) specifically focused on what happens in a collaborative group when one of the members experiences uncertainty. What they found was that when confronted with this disruption in progress of the group work, peer responses varied in nature. These responses were either socially supportive to the child possessing the uncertainty or the peer responses were unsupportive (Jordan & McDaniel, 2014). If the support was not supportive, it caused some issues in the cohesiveness of the group and the ability of the child with the uncertainty to continue on with the group flow. Their findings suggested that in addition to teacher support, peer support is important if children are going to successfully participate in collaborative learning projects (Jordan & McDaniel, 2014).

After reading this, I immediately thought of my experiences over the years in building a supportive classroom community as well as the ideas presented by Tara J. Rosso (2005) in the article, Whose Culture has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth. In this article, Rosso (2005) discussed the importance of recognizing the value of the capital that children possess from their own experiences in their culture, family, and communities. Learning, sharing and celebrating these types of capital can be beneficial when building individuality and a feeling of importance in a classroom community, but it can also help when children are learning how to work and support each other in collaborative groups. Explicit attention given to the qualities of each child’s capital modeled by the teacher can help the children recognize individual strengths in each other when in collaborative learning situations.

When I think about my explicit efforts to build community, these readings really helped me to realize that not only will a focus on the capital that each child brings to the classroom help build a classroom community and a sense of belongingness, but it may also help with higher level thinking skills and higher quality problem solving at the group level. I can see activities at the kindergarten level that will help support this type of recognition in the beginning of the year, such as family sharing and star student, but my hope would be that with daily modeling and encouraging, the children would develop the supportive thoughts and language that would not only help them recognize individuals and how they uniquely contribute to a group, but also offer a community where it is common to encourage and respect everyone in the community to avoid debilitating unsupportive peer interactions and responses.


Bransford, J.D., Brown, A., and Cocking, R. (1999). How people learn: Brain-mind experience and school. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Greeno, J.G., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, L. B., (1996). Cognition and Learning. In D. Berliner & R. Calfee (Eds)., Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 15-46). New York, NY: Macmillan.

Hogan, K., Nastasti, B. K., & Pressley, M. (2000). Discourse patterns and collaborative scientific reasoning in peer and teacher guided discussions. Cognition and Instruction, 17, 379-432.

Jordan, M.E. & McDaniel, R.R., (2014). Managing uncertainty during collaborative problem solving in elementary school teams: The role of peer influence in robotics engineering activities. The Journal of Learning Sciences, 00, 1-47.

Yosso, T.J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, (8)1, 69-81.

Building Partnerships: Communities and Schools

Hands, C. (2005). It ’ s Who You Know and What You Know : Process of Creating Partnerships Between Schools and Communities, 63–84.

The journal article, It’s Who You Know “and” What You Know: The Process of Creating Partnerships between Schools and Communities by Catherine Hands is a guide to research in forming school partnerships with its community. Two schools were examined for their success in forming partnerships. The perspective of community members, teachers, parents and principals were collected and discussed. Hands explains the necessary components of forming a partnership and the pitfalls that may challenge a partnership from becoming successful. There are many benefits to be had by both the school and the community member which is fully discussed. Furthermore, Hands goes on to describe some of the unintended benefits. Throughout the article parallels are made that relate the elements of ecology to elements of forming a partnership and how they are each interdependent. Hands organization is excellent. She makes use of bold and headings to lead the reader sequentially through the steps of forming a partnership. Beginning with the introduction she describes how the need for her research is adjoined to the needs of schools that “are finding it increasingly difficult to create educational programs to address the diverse needs of the students” (Hands, 2005, p.64). In my own experience I see a greater need for change because of the rapidly expanding and diverse population. Schools are working on a paradigm designed over a hundred years ago for a population one quarter the size and even less diverse. Simply stated, schools today are not equipped to effectively engage students or supply their needs required to be successful in the world. Next, Hands outlines the problem and poses questions to the reader. This technique of using questions gives the reader a purpose to focus on as he/she reads. The questions also highlight what is important in the article. Finally, it supplies the opportunity for repetition of concepts. Hands continues by defining essential terms and ideas, followed by describing the framework of the partnering process. The reader is never left to figure out what she means. This topic is identical to what I intend to research. I don’t know whether to be happy someone else has thought of it or if I should be sad because my idea is not as original as I thought. The upside is that I plan to take it a step or two further. I want to investigate how the community partnership affects the school community and student achievement. Currently I notice “students see many academic tasks in terms of short-term learning necessary to secure a grad and do not grasp the learning’s utility in the real world beyond the classroom.” (Willems & Gonzalez-DeHass, 2012, p.10). Hands research is easy to read because of how organizes it visually and through her use of anecdotes. She takes two pages to discuss her methodology. She makes use of an easy to read graphic organizer. She reiterates the goals of her research and then discusses her findings and more data collection. The article is so well organized; I compare it to following a street map. Hands makes use of repetition which is a valuable tool to help the reader digest the material without having to go back to recall a concept. During a recent class, our guest speaker from ASU, Dr. Audrey Amrein-Beardsley just briefly mentioned qualitative versus quantitative research in her discussion. I understand what each of those two types of research mean but I work better when I have examples. I have some familiarity with quantitative research after having taken a statistics class where we worked with numbers and values to support our findings. Now this article offers an excellent example of qualitative research. I see how data collected by interviews and relationships that work or fail. Data is collected by the success of “feedback loops resulting from communication within the networks and resultant maintenance or changes made to the relationships” (Hands, 2005, p.66). Hands breaks down the components and mechanics of how to build partnerships” with another researcher’s theory on partnership, “the relationship between systems such as schools and communities. The theory posits that there is a flow of information and resources across the permeable boarders of open systems in a way that is not hierarchical; this flow is bi-directional across the borders” (Hands, 2005, p.66). The flow of information is the communication between the school and the community. The resources are the agreed upon services that will help to accomplish a certain goal. The goal agreed on between the school and the community was that “the needs of the students were the focus and the basis for all partnership efforts.” (Hands, 2005, p.70) The next component is initiating partnerships and the first question to be answered from the community would be “”Well, what’s in this for me?” So, rather than waste people’s time, you have to present it like, ‘This is a situation which will benefit us both.’ So, yeah, I think there has to be some reciprocation. And it has to be obvious”(Hands, 2005, p.71). The schools Hands interviewed made clear that forming partnerships required a measured and well thought out approach. Businesses, organizations and social services have time pressures just like teachers so it’s important to know the needs of the community. It’s a lot like sales. I plan on selling the community with the idea that, in the classroom teachers give grades as a measure of performance and students receive them as payment for work completed. However, the rewards will be much greater when students see the work from a partnership of community and school side by side. “Children learn through a variety of social and educational contexts, and the goals for student academic success are best achieved through the cooperation and support of schools, families, and communities” (Willems & Gonzalez-DeHass, 2012, p.9) My concern is that students do not have the role models or the exposure to the opportunities with-in and outside their communities. There are so many variables to consider in helping students to be college or career ready. Many students have not been outside of their neighborhood. In further study of how community partnership will benefit students I hope to describe how students explore career opportunities, how to involve parents in partnering with the school and community, how to encourage businesses to create scholarships or apprenticeships, and how schools can help businesses to grow.

References: Willems, P. P., & Gonzalez-dehass, A. R. (2012). School – Community Partnerships : Using Authentic Contexts to Academically Motivate Students, 22(2), 9–30.