Dissertation: Growth of a Teacher Garden: A Research Evaluation Study of the Creative Options Partnership in Education (COPE).

Thumbnail Image
Painter, Janet
Issue Date
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education , Qualitative Research , College School Cooperation , Educational Strategies
This qualitative single case study examined a school-university partnership program known as the Creative Options Partnership in Education (COPE). The purpose of the study was to understand the emergent qualities of the partnership during its initial five years. Data, collected through individual interviews with partnership leaders, a focus group interview with stakeholder representatives, and program records, were analyzed to identify emerging themes. The qualitative data yielded five themes, which the study described and examined in relation to the PDS Impact Assessment Model and CIPP evaluation model. The identified themes were (a) connections that enhance practice, (b) relationships and bonding, (c) communication, (d) benefits for partner school children, as well as (e) funding and resource issues. Findings indicated that partnership concerns about communication and resources did not prevent meaningful relationships from developing between and among the stakeholders groups, nor did such concerns prevent the identification of benefits to the children at the partner school. The findings suggest that stakeholder beliefs about the quality of their collaborative relationships (input) and their interpretations of how children are benefiting, relate to their assessment of the effectiveness of practices (process) and desired outcomes (product) of the PDS program. Stakeholder judgments regarding the overall impact of the PDS program, particularly the organizational innovations (context) and adaptions in roles and structures (input) brought on during the initial period of PDS development (context), also show connections to these beliefs.