Communal School Organization and the Implementation Quality of School-Based Prevention Programs

Allison Ann Payne, University of Maryland at College Park
Denise C. Gottfredson, University of Maryland at College Park
Gary D. Gottfredson, Gottfredson Associates, Inc.

Past research has shown the effectiveness of several types of delinquency prevention programs located in the school arena. In addition, past research has shown how the implementation quality of programs in schools influences the programs' effectiveness. Little research, however, has examined the factors that influence this implementation quality. This paper examines how the "communal organization" of a school affects the implementation quality of delinquency prevention programs. This communal organization is characterized by a system of shared values and expectations, a sense of community within the school, high teacher-administrator cooperation, and good local school management. Also important is the way in which the prevention program is integrated into this organization. It is proposed that a school with high communal organization and highly integrated prevention programs will have programs that disiplay high implementation quality. Conversely, a school with low communal organization and poorly integrated prevention programs will have programs that display poor implementation quality. Using surveys from prevention activity coordinators and teachers from a national sample of schools, this study will assess the relationship between communal school organization and implementation quality of prevention programs.

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Updated 05/20/2006