Just as rural community conditions influence rural schools, so does the state of rural schools affect rural communities. Given this relationship, the challenges faced by rural communities must be addressed by all relevant stakeholders through participatory methods.
This report examines the role of school and community collaborations in community development and school improvement strategies. Two principles are central to these collaborations. First, joint school-community partnerships should consist of representative community membership, particularly mindful of involving youth. Second, the collaborations should adopt the philosophy of community-based research, which supports the creation of social knowledge, challenges oppression, and strengthens democratic participation.
Included in this report is a case study of a school-based nonprofit organization in South Texas that practices community-based research. The case study includes qualitative data indicating community residents' and students' assessments of the organization's work.