Leading the Initial Implementation Phase of the TandemED Community Initiative in Relationship with the Pittsburgh Public Schools
CitationBarnes, Brian. 2015. Leading the Initial Implementation Phase of the TandemED Community Initiative in Relationship with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractTandemED is a start-up entity that begins its efforts with a belief that Black community leadership is the key lever for the educational success of its K–12 youth. TandemED organizes and facilitates Black communities to create campaigns that highlight their positive racial identity and self-defined educational purpose toward this end.
This capstone examines my leadership of the initial implementation phase of the TandemED community initiative in relationship with the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS). Focusing primarily on the interactions with the superintendent and executive director of the superintendent’s office, I analyze both the areas of reception and challenge in forming this relationship. The results of my engagement included ongoing support from PPS as TandemED formed a citywide steering committee of highly community-legitimated persons, executed a leadership and campaign academy for thirty-five Pittsburgh youth, and facilitated their design and delivery of various cable television commercials on identity and purpose that generated over half-million impressions within one month in the Greater Pittsburgh region.
In order to make sense of the evolving relationship between TandemED and PPS, I utilize the organizational framework established in Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal. In this work, Bolman and Deal offer four key frames from which effective organizations function—structural, human resource, political, and symbolic. Each of these entails specific interests and core assumptions. In my analysis, the structural frame posited the greatest challenge for our entities to partner; the political frame offered both positives and negatives for our organizations to collaborate; and the human resource and symbolic frames helped to form and sustain our relationship. The implication of my analysis is that while a relationship with a public school district at the onset of TandemED city entry is of value, the greater value is found in first establishing a strong community-legitimated effort and intersecting with the district more deeply in later implementation phases. The implication for the sector, namely superintendents and school district leaders, is that there is transformative value in affirming and being responsive to Black community leadership efforts in education.
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