Case Studies of Rural Schools Implementing Comprehensive School Reform Models.Report as inadecuate

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Case studies of five small and isolated rural schools in the south-central United States examined their participation and success in the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration (CSRD) program. The schools included three elementary schools and two K-12 unit schools serving 71-473 students. All were at least 50 miles from a metropolitan area and were Title I eligible. Each school was receiving approximately $50,000 per year for 3 years to underwrite CSRD costs. Site visits took place in the fall and spring of the first year. At each school, the study examined which schoolwide reform model was chosen and why, challenges and barriers to implementing the chosen model, the role of the model developer in program implementation, and how the rural context affected progress. The studies found that the funds awarded generally were sufficient for program implementation. Program developers were able to provide quality training and support despite the schools' isolation and small size. Teachers recognized the fit between the models chosen and school needs. CSRD models that were more prescriptive were implemented very quickly, and teachers observed significant pupil gains in related skills. Less prescriptive models were implemented more slowly and were subject to some teacher skepticism and indifference. State accountability systems played a major role in motivating schools to participate in CSRD. Parents and community members were minimally involved in CSRD implementation. Small school size seemed to facilitate internal communications and problem solving. Appendices contain case study details and data collection forms. (SV)

Descriptors: Case Studies, Disadvantaged Schools, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Professional Development, Program Implementation, Rural Education, Rural Schools, Small Schools, Teacher Attitudes

Author: Carlson, Robert V.


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