What does it take to sustain a productive partnership in education?

Aerial view of hundreds of students with cardboard kiosks displaying their science projects gather under the Museum's suspended blue whale model.
© AMNH/D. Finnin


Hammerness, K., MacPherson, A., Macdonald, M., Roditi, H., & Curtis-Bey, L. (2017). What does it take to sustain a productive partnership in education? Phi Delta Kappan, 99(1), 15-20. [view article]


Since 2002, eight different cultural institutions and the New York City Department of Education, have partnered to develop the Urban Advantage program. In this article, we share the history of the partnership, and describe the features of the partnership that have enabled the partnership to persist and continue, even as the policy context and educational challenges have shifted over the years. The article offers useful lessons not just for those who seek to improve science teaching but for all educators who want to create strong partnerships among school districts, museums, and other cultural institutions. In particular, the article provides concrete examples of principles that researchers identify as critical to the long-term success of educational partnerships (Coburn & Stein, 2010; Coburn, Penuel, & Geil, 2013): agreement about the value of distributed expertise; the creation of a clear, shared vision of student learning and teacher learning; and the ability to respond and adapt to shifts in district and national contexts.


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