Organizational training and relationship building for increasing public participation in a public school district

Poynton, John, author
Venneberg, Donald, advisor
Makela, Carole, committee member
Wallner, Barbara, committee member
Carcasson, Martin, committee member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
From the early twentieth century to the present, citizen participation in U.S. public institutions--particularly schools--has continually decreased. The trend has been linked to the bureaucratization of public schools and their increasing reliance on expert knowledge for solutions to school- and education-related problems. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a parent training program designed to increase a school district's capacity for public participation. The program--known as Leadership St. Vrain--provided citizens knowledge about school district operations and management (know-how) and relationship-building opportunities with key decision makers (know-who). The mixed-methods study was designed to include two original survey instruments, follow-up interviews, and archival documents to evaluate the effect of the training on participants. Participants reported strong growth in domains for knowledge, relationship, willingness, efficacy, and action. Follow-up interviews with training participants and parents who served as school Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) presidents, as well as an analysis of archival documents indicated a secondary ripple-effect among PTO members who did not take the training, as well as with other citizens and the larger community.
2012 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights Access
civic engagement
parent engagement
public deliberation
public education
public participation
social capital
Associated Publications