Building Constructive Partnerships with Community Stakeholders: Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Advance Program in Secondary School Settings

By Marcelle Cacciattolo, Merryn Davies and Robyn Broadbent.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Advance program aims to provide opportunities for young people in secondary schools in Victoria, Australia to participate in community life thereby strengthening their links with community organizations. In addition to this the Advance program provides an opportunity for young people and schools to connect with major volunteer organisations. These organisations extend to Wildlife Victoria, CFA, Scouts, Police Cadets, Environmental Groups and Bicycle Victoria. Young people involved in the program are expected to identify an issue or issues of concern in their local community. Once an issue is raised an applied project plan is created alongside community activities or a community project that address the issue at hand. It is hoped that the creation of a project/activities will assist in creating positive outcomes and opportunities that will benefit the broader community and young people. This paper outlines key findings of the evaluation of the program and aims to: •Develop and implement tools and procedures for mapping and monitoring the program model;•Analyse the Advance model and its impact on relevant stakeholders who are involved in this initiative. •Co-ordinate and conduct activities that evaluate the Advance model •Review the extent to which Advance has met its stated aims and objectives to date;•Place the evaluation of the Advance model in the context of existing social policy, youth participation and community initiatives for this target group in Victoria. The study provides a snapshot of how flexible school based programs can strengthen community building capacity for both government secondary schools and local community organisations (Groundwater-Smith et al 2007).

Keywords: Young People, Social Capital, Community Partnerships, Inclusive Education, Student Engagement

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.161-172. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 623.846KB).

Dr. Marcelle Cacciattolo

Coordinator, Partnerships, School of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Marcelle Cacciattolo is a sociologist and a senior lecturer in the School of Education at Victoria University. Marcelle teaches in a diverse range of pre-service teacher education courses, conducts a range of research projects and supervises a variety of postgraduate research students. Marcelle’s particular research interests are cross-disciplinary involving health sciences and education-based research. Her research focuses are linked to the following themes - well being, inclusive education, social justice and authentic teaching and learning pedagogies.

Dr. Merryn Davies

Lecturer in Secondary and Post Compulsory Education, School of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Merryn Davies is a Lecturer in Secondary and Post Compulsory Education in the School of Education at Victoria University. She coordinates, and teaches in, the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education. Her research interests focus on access and equity in education. She has extensive experience in the conduct and management of educational research projects at the national and state levels, working as a Research Fellow in the Educational Outcomes Research Unit at the University of Melbourne between 1994 and 2002 and as Manager of the Equity Research Centre in Melbourne in 2004. Her work has involved administration of large scale surveys in Australian schools, VET providers and universities and analysis of resultant data. She has also participated in qualitative research work involving individual interviews and focus group work with principals, teachers, students parents, employers and other stakeholders in schools and training providers in a number of states. In recent years she has worked closely with school clusters as a University Associate, supporting their involvement in DEST’s Values Education Good Practice project.

Dr. Robyn Broadbent

Co-ordinator of Youth Studies Program, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Robyn is an experienced Youth Worker, Educator, Researcher and Community Consultant. Robyn currently coordinates the Bachelor of Arts Youth Studies and has most recently been lead researcher on a number of community consultations. The focus of much of this community research has been to increase the retention of young people in education, employment and/or training. Robyn is currently advising two philanthropic boards on the development of two new Youth Resource Centres in the West that will be completed with a mixture of private and public funds. Robyn has also been active in establishing a number of partnerships that are seen as innovative and responsive between industry and community. Robyn was the chief investigator on this research project that worked in partnership with the communities of Swan Hill and Warrnambool.

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