Thesis

An ethnographic study exploring the impact of a multi-track, year round schedule on the school community

To be attentive implies shared interests, goals, compassion and respect. Values that are at the heart of effective communication, form the center of a close knit community and are intrinsic to a successful educational setting. The organizational structure known as the multi-track, year-round system, by design. has more "nested communities" and thus, a more complex network of communications than a traditional school system. It demands more vigilance and a greater commitment to the development of effective communication and a bonded community. Without this communication the community framework develops cracks, and becomes structurally weakened and ineffective. Educational growth is hindered and progress limited. The concept of the multi-track, year-round school was conceived thirty years ago in an effort to relieve overcrowded conditions. Many poor districts adopted the plan to help lower costs and alleviate financial stress. Over time, a subtle consolidation of programs may occur resulting in an inequitable distribution of resources. Competition between tracks begins to immerge. The four-in-one nesting of communities allows four times as many voices to take part in the interpretation of needs and the development of the school's ultimate direction. Consensus is difficult and buy-in limited, since at any point in time anywhere from twenty-five to thirty percent of the community is off-track and may be left out of the decision making process. A simple majority ruling could mean less than half the community is actually in favor of the decision. When teachers are unable to make things happen, they are likely to withdraw and refuse to participate. Without communication, participation and cooperation, implementing new ideas and responding to a changing society is limited. The unusual climate of the multi-track, year-round school system and the lack of research exploring it's effectiveness with regards to current educational pedagogy makes this study unique. propose using a combination of ethnographic study techniques and a gathering of extant data. The need to document "what" voices are saying, whose voices are being heard, and by whom, lends itself to ethnography. Recording evidence of competition and attitudes are critical to the understanding of what actually fractures the community. Inequities arising from the distribution of resources are actually seen in the analysis of existing quantitative information.

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