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Citation:Hernandez, L. (2000). The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence: Building capacity for public engagement in education reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.

This case study provides an in-depth discussion of the development, processes, and outcomes of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence in Kentucky. It includes a discussion of the strategies and processes used by the Committee to support school reform at the state and local level. Three main findings emerged during the first decade of the CommitteeÕs work. First, the Committee has been adaptable and flexible in adjusting its activities and agenda to meet the needs of the reform effort. They have taken on a variety of tasks while keeping the vision of increasing citizen and parent involvement and input as a key to the reform effort. Second, the Committee has widened participation both in terms of sheer numbers of people involved and in terms of building coalitions and alliances among stakeholders. Finally, the Committee has worked at fostering public engagement at several levels and with several constituencies simultaneously. The study is based on data collected 1998-1999. Data sources include Committee marketing and training materials, news and evaluation reports, books and journal articles, and observations and participation in Committee training sessions. Interviews and focus groups were also conducted with Committee directors and staff. Drafts of the study were shared with Committee staff Òto assure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information presented.Ó This case study includes some lessons learned and describes how the work of the committee changed over time, as well as the strategic decisions that were made along the way. It does not give extensive information about the impact of the Committee on school reform and student achievement, although discussion of these issues is woven in throughout the text.

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