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Citation:Epstein, J. L., Clark, L. A., & Van Voorhis, F. E. (2000). Three-year patterns of state and district leadership in developing programs of partnership. Paper presented at the Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

This article is an update based on the evaluation of The National Network of Partnership Schools for the past three years. Schools were surveyed to learn about the essential elements of good partnership programs, and the challenges in developing effective partnerships. Five important patterns emerged from the data about how the states were doing: states that retained the same leaders made more progress in developing their partnerships. State leaders reported a lack of funding for school, family, and community partnerships and continued to be concerned about the need to coordinate programs and projects across divisions and departments in the state departments of education. Although no state leader had reported a lack of parents' interests, they continued to report a lack of interest or support for partnerships from their states, districts, and schools. Fortunately, most states were interested in improving their evaluations of school and district programs and want to learn whether and how partnerships contributed to other measures of student success. About 70% said some Title I funds are used to support their districts. Leaders in the National Network reported receiving more support from their states than leaders in other states. District leaders benefited from knowing that spending more time working on partnerships led to higher quality programs as a result. Collegial support and cooperation significantly influenced district leaders' reports of program quality. Leadership and facilitation of schools were strongly related to reported program quality. Evaluation was strongly correlated with every indicator of district leadership and program development. Districts that were evaluating their programs faced fewer obstacles, received more support, conducted more district-level leadership activities, and reported higher overall quality ratings for their partnerships. The data suggest that the seriousness of purpose pays off in higher quality programs. The authors recognize that The Network needs to find reasonable and feasible ways to help states and districts create new tools, guidelines, and approaches and evaluate their work.

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