CCS RPN Research Agenda - Further Research and Study of Community Schools Theme 5: Collaborative Leadership and Relational Trust

The following is a major theme of the Community Schools Research Agenda. Click here to return to the CCS RPN homepage.

Collaborative Leadership and Relational Trust

We should better understand how to measure, foster, and facilitate shared and collaborative leadership, including how to do this in a virtual environment. This includes how we share power inside and outside of schools. Potential questions include: How do we develop leadership at multiple levels? How do we share power in a virtual environment? How do we bring student voices to the table and share power with young people in community schools? How does this look in different grade or age levels? How do we build leadership inclusive of families and students? What do we know about the impact of leadership development on student outcomes?

In addition to shared leadership structures within schools, there is also a need for research relating to the system-level shared leadership structures. Specifically, what are the linkages between schools, districts, states, nonprofits, foundations, and other agencies? What are the different approaches to leadership structures within these different entities that anchor community schools within a city? How do we realize the mantra of “top-down support for bottom-up change”? What are the advantages to district-led, non-profit led, city-led, or university-led initiatives? What are the benefits or challenges for “stand-alone” community schools that are not connected to a community school system?

Finally, a core component of shared leadership is relational trust. We need more research addressing how we build and foster relational trust among community members and other actors in the community school space. We need to consider the following questions: How do we measure relational trust? Are community schools poised to support deeper engagement/trust? If so, what makes it possible? How are we holding community schools accountable for relational trust?