ripe for positive movement —
host of cascading effects. As initial
and more resilient community that
and then how to actively grow
ripples of action spread, momentum
can adapt to future challenges.
in a community starts to build, the
These are insights for all of us
• We must develop a communi-
public will for working together in
who hold affection for communities,
ty’s enabling environment for
new ways along with a growing sense
seek to strengthen them and tackle
change — the conditions for
of common purpose emerges, the
their pressing challenges. At the
innovation, emergence, and
community’s capacity for change
heart of this story is how people and
expands and deepens, and a new can-
groups have created a common frame
do narrative takes shape. Over time,
of reference for how they see the
what one sees is that a community is
community, its challenges, and
able to generate all-important stay-
• Intentionality in our engagement and actions is essential. • Finally, we must work with the community, not apart from it.
ing power to stick with efforts and
What all this adds up to is the
engage with entrenched issues; it is
need to embrace the idea that change
able to use its newly formed capacity
spreads in a community. This hap-
to address new issues that arise. The
pens when a certain dynamic is
result is short-term wins, longer-term
unleashed that sets in motion a whole
sustainability, and a much stronger
This article is excerpted with permission from “The Ripple Effect: How change spreads in communities.” In the remainder of the full report, the Harwood Institute illustrates The Ripple Effect through the progress of the city of Battle Creek, Mich., over a period of about six years. Battle Creek’s story is emblematic of the type of change The Harwood Institute sees in its work each and every day in communities of all sizes and shapes.
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This ad will run in the Jan-Feb issues of the Journal.
The Illinois Association of School Boards encourages boards of education to engage their communities. IASB’s Foundational Principles of Effective Governance note that the primary task of the school board is to continually define, articulate, and re-define district ends to answer the recurring question: “Who gets what benefits for how much?” In order to define those ends and clarify the district’s vision, mission, and goals, the school board needs to connect with its community around the aspirations that people have for their local schools. We offer the Harwood Institute’s insights and perspective here as part of IASB’s ongoing community engagement conversation.
Resources Read the full report, including THI’s work in Battle Creek, Mich., here: www.theharwoodinstitute.org/reports/ The Harwood Group, Community Rhythms: The Five Stages of Community Life. Flint, Mich.: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (1999). The Harwood Group, Public Capital: The Dynamic System that Makes Public Life Work. Dayton, Ohio: The Charles F. Kettering Foundation (1996). Connecting with the Community, IASB’s Community Engagement piece: www.iasb.com/training/connecting.cfm
THE ILLINOIS SCHOOL BOARD JOURNAL / JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017