Vocabulary and Governance Structure
The NNER, a self-making network, comprises partnerships within the United States and Canada all of which work to advance the Agenda for Education in a Democracy (AED) in local work and with network-wide initiatives. Following is an overview of the governance structure and definition of terms to provide background for those new to the work.
Agenda for Education in a Democracy (AED) – the founding principles from which the NNER work emanates. Developed by John Goodlad and colleagues from extensive research on schools and places that prepare educators, these tenets guide our practice, research, and policy work. For more information on the AED and the NNER mission, go to www.nnerpartnerships.org.
NNER Settings — school, district, university partnerships where educators and members of the boarder community work together to improve schools and the preparation of teachers. These groups engage in simultaneous renewal guided by the NNER mission. Each setting has an organizational structure that has its own policies, practices, and communication channels across the institutions that comprise the setting (the school districts, schools, university or universities, departments within those institutions) to improve the school-university collaborative work. Settings engage in leadership development and locally initiated work that advances the partnership activities and advances the NNER mission. Currently there are 25 NNER settings ranging from single university-district partnerships to large consortiums. The sites—schools, districts, and universities within each setting work collaboratively. For specific examples of governance structures or leadership activities, contact Ann Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simultaneous Renewal — the primary strategy for advancing the AED. It requires that the partnership institutions and the entities within the institutions work together and make changes that impact schools and university programs. Ongoing change resulting from inquiry and reflection that improves the education of current P-12 students and future teachers is a key outcome of the collaborative work. Simultaneous renewal is evident when change occurs in university courses, structures, reward systems, materials, pedagogy, and in school practices related to roles of teacher candidates, classroom pedagogy, university presence in the school, and school-wide inquiry as examples. In partner schools, the primary strategy to advance simultaneous renewal, university and school colleagues work collaboratively to provide professional development for all members of the school community; provide access to quality curriculum and learning experiences for all students; engage together in inquiry to improve practice; and work collaboratively to prepare future educators merging theory and practice.
Tripartite collaboration refers to schools, colleges and schools of education, and colleges and departments in the arts and sciences; the groups that share responsibility for providing quality education to currently enrolled p-12 students and future educators.
NNER Structures for Communication and Action
Tripartite Council; three groups comprise the NNER’s major work—public school and university arts & science and education colleagues. To ensure that these groups have voice in the NNER goals and priorities, the Tripartite Council, comprising an arts & science, education, and public school representative from each setting was established. It meets annually at the NNER conference and from that session proffers recommendations to the governing council on what it considers to be the most pressing areas for the NNER’s attention. The council promotes initiatives to ensure various perspectives are included in our work. Each Tripartite Council group elects a chair for a three-year term to lead the group’s work, facilitate communication, and ensure that the group’s perspective is included in policy decisions. The settings each determine how to select their Tripartite Council representatives and their length of service. As well as serving on the NNER Tripartite Council, the local tripartite representatives participate in the local setting leadership as determined by the local leadership structures. One example of their role in local work is that the tripartite council representatives work with the setting contact(s) to write the NNER annual setting report, ensuring that the report is developed to include all groups’ perspectives.
Governing Council — the NNER policy-making group comprises representatives from each setting with the setting’s authorization to vote on policy and goals and priorities. Each setting determines who this will be and how long the representative will serve in this role. The Governing Council elects a chair from its membership for a two year term. In addition to setting representation, the Institute for Educational Inquiry (IEI) and the NNER Tripartite Council chairs serve on the Governing Council. The IEI determines who will serve as its representative. The A&S and school Tripartite Council groups also each elect an additional representative to the governing council for three year terms.
The Governing Council meets twice annually, at the NNER fall conference and traditionally at the AACTE meeting in January or February. In addition, the governing council has an electronic conversation group where information is distributed and if needed, voting can be done in lieu of a meeting.
The Executive Board comprises the Governing Council chair, past chair, the Tripartite Council chairs, and two members from the Governing Council elected at-large for three year terms. This group recommends policy to the governing council and has the authority to make policy decisions as needed. The NNER Executive Director is an ex-officio non-voting member. The board meets at least twice a year in addition to the Governing Council meetings; in winter (December or January) and summer (June or July). It generally schedules a meeting at the NNER conference following the Governing Council meeting.