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Citation:Wynn, J., Meyer, S., & & Richards-Schuster, K. (2000). Furthering education: The relationship of schools and other organizations. In M. C. Wang & W. L. Boyd (Eds.), Improving results for children and families: Linking collaborative services with school reform efforts (pp. 53-90). Greenwich: CT: Information Age Publishing

The purpose of this study is to build the knowledge base about connections among schools and other organizations and to provide an inventory of different kinds of connections. A connection is defined as "an intentional and ongoing relationship between a K-12 school and one or more external organizations that entails the investment of organizational resources." The dynamics of connections over time, and the factors that shape their progress, are highlighted, as well as an analysis of the benefits and costs of such connections. The results of this study are primarily conceptual in nature, based on the analyses of the various connections studied. Major characteristics of connections are described, with an emphasis on their purposes and participants. Six factors are identified that appeared to shape the development of connections, their formation and functioning, and what they were able to achieve. The authors also identify five characteristics: practice orientations, focus, intensity/penetration, quality, and fit that appeared to affect both organizationsÕ commitment to connections over time and the benefits that resulted from the connections. The role of intermediaries in the development of connections are also discussed. Approximately 250 school connections across the nation were identified and analyzed, 60 of them intensively. Analyses were done through a review of program documents, evaluation results, interviews, and site visits. In addition, the authors conducted interviews with experts on school-community connections. This study provides an important theoretical framework for use in analyzing school-community connections and a comprehensive analysis of those connections. It describes new trends in the field and brings together information from a very diverse body of work.

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