Getting coordinated: Lessons from an implementation study of a school-linked, coordinated service initiative

Ellen Lillian Foley, University of Pennsylvania


Since 1995, the School District of Philadelphia has been involved in a large-scale education reform effort--Children Achieving--and the Consortium for Policy Research in Education has been charged with conducting an implementation study to document it. This dissertation presents the results of a sub-study of one aspect of Children Achieving: the Family Resource Network, an effort to coordinate services for children and families, both within the School District and throughout Philadelphia. Based on a theory of action approach, the study emphasized how student support professionals at all levels of the District perceived the purpose and goals of the Family Resource Network during its first eighteen months of implementation. Using a framework developed by the author, the study also assessed the level of coordination apparent across many dimensions of the program, and among many of the groups involved in the effort. Results of the study suggest that the degree of coordination varied depending on the groups involved. Coordination was high among central Family Resource Network staff and between central and cluster staff. Among school level staff, however, especially between student support professionals and teachers, coordination was generally low. Policies intended to increase this coordination had little effect on school-based staff and were hampered by limited resources and uneven implementation. School staff in clusters with Family Resource Network Coordinators did show a greater awareness of the Family Resource Network and were more likely to attribute positive effects to it. However, little inroads were made in altering how student support professionals in schools conceptualized their jobs, a key goal of the initiative. For school-linked, coordinated service initiatives to fulfill their potential, more explicit connections between student support services and instruction must be made. Additionally, further research to understand and delineate the complexities of service coordination is necessary.

Subject Area

School administration|Academic guidance counseling

Recommended Citation

Foley, Ellen Lillian, "Getting coordinated: Lessons from an implementation study of a school-linked, coordinated service initiative" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9840189.