A Community Science Journal for Educational Systems Improvement
School field site contributors
When school communities develop the capacity to contribute to Evolving Schools, we view this, from a scientific perspective, as making progress towards understanding schools as field sites for educational systems improvement and community-based cultural evolution.
That is, we aim to support school communities in developing core competencies in studying themselves to drive reflection on their values, goals, and problem-solving flexibility. Rather than outside ‘experts’ coming into a school community and driving a research agenda, we suggest schools can focus on capacity building for the community themselves to generate and investigate their own questions about what is workable and valuable, for who.
Here you can learn about the requirements and processes for activating your school as a community-based field site.
All public and private schools are eligible to register with our journal to enable submissions from your community. There are no costs at any stage of engaging with our journal. However, there are requirements regarding your capacity to organize some minimal coordinating structures to ensure compliance with our ethical, formatting, and quality guidelines.
Current minimal requirements include:
- School administrators must sign our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating they have an understanding of the aims, processes, and requirements of our journal. This represents a commitment to ensure the collaborative student group and student-teacher relationships that fuel excellence in community science and academic publication.
- Schools must have a minimum (1) educator and (3) students to fulfill the field site roles (see below)
- Schools must submit a brief reflection annually (a responsibility of the student-led school coordination roles), in order to remain in good standing with the journal.
Field site roles for contributing articles or data to Evolving Schools
Schools can develop their engagement with our global community science journal at varying levels and scales of coordination. To do this successfully, we have identified core roles for both students, as well as educators, within a school community.
Roles for students
Students are the driving force behind our journal! We encourage student teams to be leading and coordinating all projects in your school that lead to publications or data contributions. Here, we outline three broad roles, which can be fulfilled by one individual or teams. All roles need to work closely with the others.
- School Coordinator(s): Students interested in keeping an eye on, and connection with, the other participants in the program, and to ensure administrative and ethical guidelines are in place and being followed. This role is responsible for “marketing” the program to students and also teachers, looking for interdisciplinary, inter-grade, and even inter-school collaborations around meaningful community science on the themes of our journal.
- Database manager(s): Every school contributing to our journal regularly should have their own school database, which may include articles and research projects that did not ultimately get submitted to our journal, but may still be helpful for your school context. Database managers provide the core technical skills to ensure scientific integrity and organization of all the research projects and publications
- Community Scientist(s): Community scientists develop and engage in individual and/or coordinated team research projects on themes related to educational systems improvement, ranging from AI to the design of the curriculum, and much more. Community scientists use very simple social science techniques, and also can strive to engage more advanced tools such as text mining to better analyze your schools growing database of student and community perspectives on school improvement.
Roles for educators
Educators (or administrators) can fulfill two key roles in this work. These roles can be fulfilled by an individual teacher (though we encourage team collaborations!), and teachers should largely view their role as supporting student leadership in managing the project, so these responsibilities should relate to and support other aims such as community service, service-learning, project-based learning, citizen science, school health and well-being, or other educational systems improvement roles that educators often choose to adopt.
- Program lead: Someone to keep an eye on, and connection with, the other participants in the program, and to ensure administrative and ethical guidelines are in place and being followed.
- Editorial lead: Someone to guide and support students through the evolving schools’ submission process. This does not require (nor prohibit) the actual editing of student work, only to ensure they are following our submission processes properly.