School Partnerships to Support Communities.

Worksite Location
Work may be undertaken anywhere, with site visits to selected County offices such as Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Schoharie and Allegany.
Project Dates
8 weeks over summer, flexible dates
Faculty Sponsor
Sharon Tennyson
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Kim Kopko, John Sipple
Wages Up To
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Many rural communities in New York are experiencing long-term economic restructuring that has led to, poor employment conditions, increased levels of poverty, declining populations and disruption of family structures. Schools in these communities may be the most stable economic institutions and a central pillar of the community, and face increasing responsibilities for efforts to support the healthy development and school performance of student populations.   Over the past two years, as part of an integrated research-extension project working with School-Based Health Centers in rural schools, our team has met with quite a number of school leaders on site visits, in semi-structured interviews, at conferences and in seminars or professional development workshops. One focus of discussions has been challenges to and unmet needs in these schools’ efforts to improve community and family resilience, and school leaders have identified sustained engagement with parents as a key weakness in this current service framework.   Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is a highly recognized organization among these leaders, and previous engagements and projects with CCE offices are often mentioned in our conversations. Based on these interactions we hypothesize that new models of offering parent and family support services (which could potentially include parent education, nutrition education, energy transitions) in cooperation with rural schools may be a sustainable and cost-effective way to enhance the positive role of CCE and the schools in these areas. 

Roles and Responsibilities

We are interested in employing a CHE-CCE summer intern to advance our understanding of (1) the extent and outcomes of CCE work in rural New York Schools focused on family supports; (2) unmet needs and programming interests of schools which could potentially be met through CCE partnerships; (3) potential contract or funding sources to support such programming; and (4) barriers that would need to be overcome to implement new partnership models.  The intern would be asked to engage in (1) development and fielding of a survey of CCE offices in rural counties of the state; (2) interviews of rural school district leaders (contacts provided) at the New York Rural Schools Association meeting in Cooperstown NY; (3) interviews of school grantwriters (contacts provided); (4) research to identify and profile existing programs and partnerships of this form.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Student must have good oral and written skills and have proficiency in internet and library research.

Benefits and Skills

Exposure to innovative leadership and management approaches in rural schools; Capacity in field research methods including interviews and surveys; Knowledge of community-schools and family-support programming; Awareness of rural development issues and challenges.