The integration of church and state : an examination of rural school and church partnerships

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Crystal L. Sexton (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Kathryn Hytten

Abstract: Though faith-based organizations provide a unique opportunity for rural public schools to share responsibility for student success among community stakeholders, partnerships between public schools and churches in the twenty-first century are complex. In part due to this complexity, limited qualitative research has been conducted in this area. As a result, this qualitative interview-based study was designed to investigate effective partnerships between rural public schools and faith-based organizations. In my findings I described the existing collaborations between the public schools and faith-based organizations in a rural community and examine the strengths, limitations, and impact of the partnerships between public schools and faith-based organizations. First, as a result of my study, I identified six primary types of existing partnerships between public schools and faith-based organizations within the community, each with a different collaborative focus. Those existing partnership focuses were food insecurity, school supplies, clothing and resources, financial support, academic support, and mentoring. Next, I identified several strengths and limitations of the partnerships between rural public schools and faith-based organizations. While stakeholders perceived that there were many strengths of the partnerships, eight perceived strengths of existing partnerships emerged during my study. Those partnership strengths included shared mission, partnership liaisons, bi-vocational personnel, legal safeguards, ethical safeguards, communication, consistency, and appreciation. In addition to the perceived strengths, participants also noted several limitations of the partnerships between rural public schools and faith-based organizations in the community studied. Throughout my research, I identified five perceived limitations of existing partnerships within the community related to pandemic restrictions, availability of funds, availability of participants, lack of direct information, and limited high school partnership. Finally, my findings suggest that the collaboration between local public schools and faith-based organizations impacted all stakeholders. To begin with, participants noted several impacts on the public school as a result of partnerships between rural public schools and faith-based organizations. These impacts primarily related to finances, student achievement, social and emotional support, character education, and teacher morale. Participants also highlighted the impacts of the partnership between public schools and faith-based organizations on the church. These impacts included increased service opportunities, spiritual growth of members, greater awareness, and potential church growth for the participating church. Finally, stakeholders perceived that the successful collaborations had meaningful impacts on the community. These impacts on the community centered on creating strong citizens and instilling pride, hope, and a sense of community among residents.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2021
Keywords
Church, Community Involvement, Education, Partnership, Religion, School
Subjects
Community and school
Church and education
Rural schools

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