Gold Cove Elementary Schools Reorganization Project, ...

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Title Gold Cove Elementary Schools Reorganization Project, Phase 1: Preliminary Findings
Author(s) J. Timothy Goddard
Date 1997
Abstract During the mid- to late-1990s, the declining economy in Nova Scotia led to a reduction in the number of school boards and the closure or amalgamation of smaller schools. This paper presents findings from the first phase of a longitudinal case study that explored the amalgamation of five elementary schools in Gold Cove, Nova Scotia. The study uses the frame theory developed by Bolman and Deal (1991) to explore the relationship between the external and internal factors (for the stimulus of change) and the school organism. Data were obtained through a survey of four groups of stakeholders in each school: the administrators, teachers, and support staff; the grade 5 students; the parents of grade 1 and grade 5 students; and a purposive sample of community leaders who did not have children enrolled in the schools. The overall response rate was 71 percent (n=323) out of a total of 453 distributed questionnaires. Interviews were also conducted with teachers and the administrative team. The five closed schools were small, older buildings that served specific ethnocultural, socioeconomic, and religious communities within the town. The five older schools were negatively characterized as aged, rundown, and lacking in both facilities and resources. Respondents expressed substantial expectations that those issues would be corrected at the new Gold Cove Elementary School. However, respondents indicated that they wished to preserve the friendly and community-oriented ambiance of the 5 small schools. The study also identified 12 items--a cluster of negative characteristics common to all five schools--which were analyzed using frame theory. Respondents also recommended making better use of teacher involvement in decision making, school-parent relationships, and community resources. (LMI)

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