This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Rural School Learning Partnerships: A Comparative Case Study Using Social Network Analysis




Grace, Emily

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Schools across the nation have responded to stringent accountability measures in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and later by the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (2009). In addition to those policy decisions there had also been a strong call to reform the leadership of K-12 schools from national, regional and state organizations. The purpose of this comparative case study to examine the internal and external learning partnerships between school staff in two rural elementary schools. Elementary School A, a low-performing school was from a school system undergoing the school improvement process, termed “Turnaround”, while Elementary School B was an above-average performing school from a rural district without significant educational problems. By examining two schools the researcher learned more about the collaborative nature of those two school organization’s learning partnerships. The researcher also explored the relationship between the extent of internal partnerships in those two schools and compared that to their perceived involvement in external partnerships. SNA was critical in this study because it was used to show who the collaborative actors were and how dense these connected collaboration networks appeared to be.