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Making Children Larger and Cracks Smaller: The Role of a Participatory Evaluation in School Restructuring – Executive Summary

The executive summary to a report on a participatory evaluation project where a group of teachers and school counselors in a set of neighborhood schools worked to create reforms that would address student dropout. This paper was written as a report for the Gratz Connection, an initiative in Philadelphia that brought teachers, administrators, staff, and parents together to address issues of student retention. The authors explain the history of this participatory evaluation, what it revealed about the school lives of the 67 students who were examined, and how it catalyzed change among teachers and counselors and within schools. The report examines case studies of how the Gratz Connection framework affected one particular student and one middle school, and describes the relationships of teachers as ‘Connectors’ to students in transitional moments.