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A Collaborative Community Education Model: Developing Effective School-Community Partnerships

  • Thea DePetris (a1) and Chris Eames (a2)


Despite school-community partnerships having much potential to provide educational organisations with authentic teaching and learning opportunities through community-based action projects, they remain under-utilised largely due to the structural constraints and pressures faced by teachers. This study helps fill a gap in scholarly discourse about the specific ways in which school-community partnerships can effectively be developed by providing an in-depth account of an 18-month pilot project with the aim to develop a conservation education program (Kids Greening Taupō) through a partnership structure in Aotearoa New Zealand. An evaluation of the pilot project was conducted using an ethnographic approach, which sought stakeholder perspectives about the program's developmental process through an interpretive lens. Qualitative data were collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews and document analysis, and then thematically analysed. The findings provided in this article illuminate stakeholder insights and perspectives about the structures established and processes utilised over the three broad stages of program planning, implementation and maintenance, and the resultant environmental initiatives and programs. Through this study, a Collaborative Community Education Model has emerged that may serve as a potential framework or starting point for those interested in creating a new school-community partnership or to modify an existing one.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Thea DePetris, Kids Greening Taupō, New Zealand. Email:


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