"A Seat at the Table": Redefining Community Engagement in District Turnaround
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Taylor, Charisse Ajewell
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CitationTaylor, Charisse Ajewell. 2020. "A Seat at the Table": Redefining Community Engagement in District Turnaround. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractUpon the release of the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) scores in December 2018, there was a massive public outcry over the prolonged neglect of the Providence Public School District. Various segments of the broader Providence community mobilized to advocate for a new course of action and to hold state and local governments accountable for failing to support the district. In the spring of 2019, Governor Gina M. Raimondo appointed Angélica Infante-Green as the new Commissioner of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). Commissioner Infante-Green’s primary charge was to turnaround the persistently failing school district. As the largest school district in the state, the Providence Public School District (PPSD) serves approximately 24,000 students, of which 91% are students of color, 84% are low-income, 31% are multilingual learners, and 16% receive special education services; this would be the largest education endeavor in RIDE’s history.
As an Ed.L.D. resident at RIDE, I was charged with designing and leading a community engagement strategy that would promote greater collaboration between RIDE and the broader Providence community as they worked to develop the district’s Turnaround Action Plan (TAP). Drawing upon case studies from the field, the Dual Capacity-Building Framework, and elements of equity-centered design thinking, I designed and implemented a collaborative and co-constructed community design process. This capstone examines what happened when the community was given “a seat at the table” in the transformation of Providence Public Schools. What follows is an analysis of a three-month community design process that resulted in the development of recommendations that will be incorporated into the Turnaround Action Plan for the Providence Public School District. Following the analysis of the project, I discuss the implications of this work for my own leadership, as well as for RIDE and the education sector.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364859