Thursday, August 2, 10:30-11:00, SUB Ballroom B, Theme: Partnership

This study provides an in-depth look at research-practice partnership (RPP) design elements stemming from the first portion of a three-year cooperative school improvement project between rural school districts in a Rocky Mountain state, a Western state land-grant university, and a second large state university. Using in-depth focus groups (sondeos) (Butler, 1995), sustained observation (Barley, 1990), and document analysis the data reveal promising design elements which include: building and accessing professional capital, opportunities to include key change agents, and cross-system stakeholder perspectives. Findings indicate small and rural school RPP progress and outcomes are complexly woven into the tapestry of the local communities in which they serve. The primary implication for RPP design is the centrality of involving rural stakeholders.