Organizing for Family and Community Engagement in the Baltimore City Public Schools

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Abstract:

Looking back on the tenure of Andrés Alonso as CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools and Michael Sarbanes as executive director of the district's new Office of Engagement, this teaching case examines the district's unique approach to family and community engagement. By drawing on an organizing frame that viewed community groups and families as partners rather than clients, City Schools was able to successfully pair community groups with schools, position schools as neighborhood hubs for reinvestment, and leverage a coalition of community groups to pass a $1.1 billion bond bill aimed at overhauling school facilities in varying states of disrepair. Using interviews and primary source data, the case reviews key milestones in the development and deployment of the strategy and poses questions about the sustainability of a community organizing approach within a bureaucratic system.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 09/17/2015