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Increasing parent involvement at an urban elementary school: The development and implementation of the Parent Involvement Action Program

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Tracye Anna Street
Abstract:
Despite decades of national initiatives and federally funded programs, research still indicates that many low socioeconomic school districts continue to experience difficulty in getting parents involved with their child's education. The purpose of this project study was to design a theoretically based, longitudinal program that will assist an urban, Title 1 elementary school (LS) located in the southeastern part of the United States in the creation and implementation of strategies and techniques to increase parental involvement. Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory and Epstein's parent involvement typology model were used as the theoretical framework for this study. The framework provided a guide for both diagnosing where specific areas of involvement were lacking as well as for how those areas can be improved. Descriptive data were collected from teachers via Epstein's Measure of School, Family, and Community Partnerships survey in order to determine which areas had the greatest deficiencies. Parenting, volunteering, decision making and collaborating with the community were identified as areas that needed improvement. A three-year, comprehensive "Parent Involvement Action Program" (PIAP) was then developed to address these four areas of need. The program is designed to facilitate involvement through the creation of teacher-led focus groups and action teams that will be responsible for establishing goals and selecting strategies to be employed each year. Yearly follow-up surveys will also be administered to determine on-going program effectiveness. This project study promotes positive social change through increased parent involvement in the academic lives of students at LS, improved parent-school partnerships and, ultimately, increases in student achievement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION 1: THE PROBLEM ........................................................................................... 1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1 Definition of the Problem ............................................................................................... 3 Local Problem ................................................................................................................. 4 Rationale ......................................................................................................................... 8 Evidence of the Problem from the Professional Literature ......................................... 8 Evidence of the Problem at the Local Level ............................................................. 10 Definitions..................................................................................................................... 12 Significance................................................................................................................... 13 Guiding/Research Question .......................................................................................... 15 Review of the Literature ............................................................................................... 16 Conceptual Framework ............................................................................................. 17 Parental Involvement Initiative ................................................................................. 22 Barriers to Parental Involvement .............................................................................. 23 Parental Involvement Program ................................................................................. 28 Oppositional View Points of Parental Involvement ................................................. 29 Implications................................................................................................................... 33 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 34

SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................... 35 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 35 Research Design............................................................................................................ 36 Setting ........................................................................................................................... 37 Staff Characteristics ...................................................................................................... 37 Population and Sample ................................................................................................. 38 Instrumentation and Materials ...................................................................................... 38 Data Collection and Analysis........................................................................................ 41 Guiding Question ...................................................................................................... 43 Individual Statement Analysis .................................................................................. 46 Assumptions .................................................................................................................. 62 Delimitations ................................................................................................................. 62 Limitations .................................................................................................................... 63 Protection of Human Subjects ...................................................................................... 63 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 63

SECTION 3: THE PROJECT ........................................................................................... 65 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 65 Project Description........................................................................................................ 65 Review of the Literature ............................................................................................... 68 Epstein’s Six Types of Involvement ......................................................................... 70

iv Strategies to Increase Parental Involvement ............................................................. 76 Empirical Evidence ................................................................................................... 84 Implementation ............................................................................................................. 92 Proposed Timetable ...................................................................................................... 94 Project Implications ...................................................................................................... 96

SECTION 4: REFLECTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS ................................................... 98 Introduction ................................................................................................................... 98 Project Strengths ......................................................................................................... 100 Recommendations for Remediation of Limitations .................................................... 100 Scholarship .................................................................................................................. 102 Project Development and Evaluation .......................................................................... 103 Leadership and Change ............................................................................................... 104 Analysis of Self as Scholar ......................................................................................... 105 Analysis of Self as Practitioner ................................................................................... 107 Analysis of Self as Project Developer ........................................................................ 108 The Project’s Potential Impact on Social Change....................................................... 109 Implications, Applications, and Directions for Future Research ................................ 110 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 112

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................... 115 APPENDIX A: THE PROJECT ..................................................................................... 124 APPENDIX B: APPROVAL AND CONSENT FORMS .............................................. 157 APPENDIX C: FREQUENCY TABLES for EACH STATEMENT ON TEACHER SURVEY............................................................................................................. 158 CURRICULUM VITAE ................................................................................................. 176

v LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Population of participants …………………. ………………………………...38 Table 2. Average, range and standard deviation………………………….. …...………44

Table 3. Frequency of responses to survey statements.............................................…...45

vi LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Mean scores for each statement in type 1 involvement: parenting …...………55

Figure 2. Mean scores for each statement for type 3 involvement: volunteering …..…..56 Figure 3. Mean scores for each statement in type 5 involvement: decision making…….58 Figure 4. Mean scores for each statement in type 6 involvement: collaborating with the community……………………………………………………………….......59

Figure 5. Mean scores for each statement in type 4: learning at home…………………60

Figure 6. Mean scores for each statement in type 2: communicating…………………...61

SECTION 1: THE PROBLEM

Introduction The purpose of this project study was to find ways of improving parental involvement in an urban elementary school. Parental involvement embraces many different forms, such as providing emotional and financial support, assistance with schoolwork, and a quiet place to complete homework. It also includes offering assistance at the school and generally playing an active role in their children’s education. The importance of enhancing parental involvement can be seen through the enactment of several pieces of legislation over the past 5 decades. In the mid 1960s, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was enacted and reauthorized in 1994 with the Improving America School Act (IASA), and then later reauthorized with Goals 2000. The latest reauthorization was the No Child Left Behind {NCLB}, 2002. All the acts incorporate important recommendations about parental involvement, which underscores the belief that parental involvement is important for the emotional and academic improvement of children. According to Seginer (2006), before the 1990s interest in improving parental involvement derived from low achievement of minority and economically disadvantaged students. This goal of increasing parental involvement to help students become more successful has continued to resurface in educational reform for more than 50 years. Despite almost universal agreement on the positive impact of parental involvement, there are significant barriers for schools reaching out to parents (Epstein, Sanders, Sheldon, et al., 2009). Even though several different groups such as the

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government, the National Education Association, educational theorists, and researchers agree that parental involvement is important in improving education, until the insurmountable barriers are addressed by schools parental involvement will remain low in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods as well as among limited-English speakers. This doctoral project study provided a program to help increase parental involvement at the researcher’s school. The project included a quantitative survey to help determine the current practices used to promote parental involvement in the school. It also provided tools that could be utilized in order to assist other schools in determining the effectiveness of their parental involvement programs, as well as to help them establish an action team with the capability to develop and implement a plan to enlist more parental support in order to have the greatest positive impact student achievement. This study concentrated primarily upon the evaluation of a quantitative survey in order to provide an intervention program that would increase parental support at an urban elementary school located in the southeastern part of the United States. Section 1 defines the problem and explains how the project unfolded. The review of literature examines the empirical evidence of the effect of parental involvement, the conceptual framework of the study, past and present parental involvement initiatives, barriers to parental involvement, typologies to enhance school and home partnerships and the opposed viewpoint of parental involvement. Section 2 provides a detailed description of the methodology used in this project study to construct the Parent Involvement Action Program (PIAP). Section 3 describes the project, highlighting strategies to increase

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parental involvement, and Section 4 concludes the study with this researcher’s reflections and the implications for future studies. The purpose of this project study was to provide a local school with PIAP, an intervention program, to help increase parental involvement, with the ultimate goal being to increase student achievement. Definition of the Problem The problem that this study addresses is low levels of parental involvement in low socioeconomic areas. Even though support for parental involvement can be seen in various public initiatives such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), Improving America School Act of 1994 (IASA), Goals 2000 and NCLB, 2002 it remains low in economically disadvantaged areas (Daves, 2007). More than 40 years ago, ESEA provided federal funding to schools to help improve student achievement in low socioeconomic areas (Daves, 2007). The reauthorization of this act in 1994, IASA, mandated parental involvement for most federally funded programs (Lyons, Robbins, & Smith, 1983). In the 1990s state governors created goals for the American public schools known as Goals 2000, which was passed as an amendment to IASA (Daves, 2007). Goal 5 of the initiative emphasized promoting partnerships that would increase parental participation to enhance the social, emotional, and academic growth of children (Paris, 1994). Most recently the NCLB, 2002 established four major themes: (a) accountability and assessment, (b) parental involvement, (c) research based programs, and (d) flexibility, which once again highlighted parental involvement (Daves, 2007). Furthermore, legislature has issued written guidelines for each state to follow concerning parental involvement.

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But despite these national initiatives and federally funded programs, many school districts continue to experience difficulty in getting parents involved (Sanders, 2008). Studies have indicated that schools that are located in lower socioeconomic areas suffer with disproportionately lower parent involvement (Epstein, Sanders, Simon, et al., 2002; Epstein, Sanders, Sheldon, et al., 2009; Jeynes, 2005). According to the National Education Association (2005a), a home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level, or cultural background. This urban Title I elementary school located in the southeastern part of the United States suffered with limited parental involvement and was selected by the researcher as the place to conduct research. The school shall be referred to as the local school (LS). The remainder of Section 1 will describe the local problem and district problem, provide a rationale for the selected problem, and summarize the most important information. Local Problem The local problem under consideration involves LS, an elementary school located in one of the largest urban school districts in the southeastern United States. LS is a Reading First and Title I school serving approximately 500 African American students, the vast majority of whom are economically disadvantaged. In August 2008 the school was labeled a “target school.” According to the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education (2008), schools that do not meet federal benchmark requirements for one year are assigned the status of “target.” LS’s low math scores on the state-mandated achievement test prevented LS from meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP).

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In the past, the school struggled with more than half of the students entering third grade reading below grade level (TSIPP, 2007). Reading First is a federally funded program that provides scientifically based reading research and tools to ensure that all children read proficiently by the end of third grade. According to the Tennessee Department of Education (2008), Reading First is considered the literacy cornerstone of NCLB. In order to be eligible to become a Reading First school and receive federal funding, the following conditions must exist: (a) The school is identified by Local Educational Agency (LEA) as one of the schools with the highest percentage of students in kindergarten through grade 3 reading below grade level; and (b) the school is identified for school improvement under Title I, Part A, and has the highest percentage of children counted for allocations under section Title I, Part A (Tennessee Department of Education, 2009). LS is located in a district that serves approximately 110,000 students. The district educates students ranging from prekindergarten to 12 th grade. There are 112 elementary schools, 36 middle or junior high schools, and 35 senior high schools. Thirty schools are considered high-priority schools or failing schools. Thirty-four schools are identified as target schools and did not meet AYP. One hundred nineteen schools are considered in good standing and met AYP. According to the 2008 Tennessee Department of Education Report Card (TDOE), the district scored a C in math, a C in reading, a D in social studies, and a D in science. These scores were derived from the criterion-referenced, academic, state-mandated achievement test for grades 3 through 8. The writing scores of Grades 5, 8, and 11 yielded an A. The average ACT achievement composite score was 17. 5.

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LS’s district continues to struggle with meeting the goals set forth by the state. The graduation goal for the state is 90% and the district only accomplished a rate of 67% in 2008. In addition to falling short on the graduation rate, the district’s promotion rate was a little lower than state expectations. The district scored a rate of 95% and the state goal was 97%. However, the district attendance rate surpassed the state goal of 93%, with a rate of 94.4%. Eighty-six percent of the students are African American, eight percent white and six percent are other races. In this year, approximately 23,495 students were suspended, of whom 22,306 were African American. Two hundred students were expelled. Each year the district administers a school climate survey to students, parents, and teachers during the second semester. The district uses this information to help improve the climate of schools. Quantitative evidence that support this study comes from the 2008 School Climate Parent Survey (SCPS) which asked 49 questions using the Likert scale: always, most times, sometimes and never. Questions ranged from Do teachers work hard to meet the needs of your child? to Does your family eat supper together? The remainder of the paragraph provides the district’s results of the SCPS. According to the district’s 2008 SCPS, 39% of the parents volunteer at the school always or most times. Approximately 42% participate in school-based parent organizations always and most times. Only 40% of the parents attend parent workshops always and most times. The survey revealed that 58% of the parents think that the school always treats parents fairly, 25% think that the school treats parents fairly most of the time, and 12% think that sometimes parents are treated fairly. Twenty-nine percent of the parents

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said that schools always considered changes based on what parents say, while 30% thought parents’ opinions were considered most of the time. The survey revealed that 39% of the parents in the district who completed the survey always attended open houses, parent-teacher conferences, and Annual Title I Parent Meetings: 33% attended the activities most of time; 72% attended activities at some point during the school year. While these might be considered excellent rates, only 3,652 parents completed the survey in a district that serves approximately 110,000 students. The district’s data collection and return rate illustrates a need for more parental participation across the district. Lack of parental involvement is not only system wide, but also a national concern (Blankstein, 2004). The school in this study indicated in its School Improvement Plan (TSIP, 2007) that more academic parent participation was needed. According to teachers’ observations, TSIP, and event sign-in sheets, many parents participated in nonacademic events such as dances, lunches, sports, field trips and promotional ceremonies. Activities such as curriculum night, parent-teacher conferences, literacy night, and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings yielded less than 10% of parent participation (2007). Due to low parental support for academics and low achievement scores on the state-mandated achievement tests in 2007-2008, the LS is considered a target school. This project study is designed to help LS gain more parental support with academics and improve student achievement in an urban elementary school. The researcher designed a Parent Involvement Action Program (PIAP), which administrators and teachers could use to help increase parent participation with academics, thereby leading to greater student

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achievement. The book Failure Is Not an Option provided support for the development of PIAP. The author Blankstein (2004) encouraged schools and families to work together and explained that these partnerships only happened through explicit strategic intervention. Rationale Evidence of the Problem from the Professional Literature Every school is required by the NCLB, 2002 to help all students achieve a high level of proficiency in math, reading, and science by 2014 (Epstein, Sanders, & Sheldon, 2007). To achieve this goal, schools and districts are required to involve families in ways that improve student achievement. Although the federal government has mandated parent involvement, many schools in areas of low social and economic status across the United States are still struggling with implementing effective partnerships (Epstein, et al., 2007; Epstein, et al., 2009). To create effective partnerships, parents, administrators, and teachers need to understand that the parents’ role has an impact on student achievement (Blankstein, 2004; Christenson, 2004; NEA, 2005a). According to the Goals 2000, student achievement is one of our nation’s top priorities. Every school is required by the year 2000, to develop programs that support increasing parental participation in order to promote the emotional and academic growth of students (Starr, 2005). In the third edition of School, Family, and Community Partnerships (2009), Epstein reported that researchers from the United States and other nations found the following information from studies of family and community involvement:

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1. Just about all families care about their children, want them to succeed, and are eager to obtain better information from schools and communities in order to remain good partners in their children’s education. 2. Just about all teachers and administrators would like to involve families, but many do not know how to efficiently and effectively build positive and productive programs and, consequently, are fearful about trying. This creates a “rhetoric rut” in which educators are stuck expressing support for partnerships without taking necessary actions. 3. Just about all students at all levels—elementary, middle, and high school— want their families to be more knowledgeable partners about schooling and are willing to take active roles in assisting communication between home and school. However, students need much better information about how their schools view partnerships and more guidance about how they can conduct important exchanges with their families about school activities, homework, and school decisions. (Epstein, 2009, p.13)

This research is significant because it revealed that caring communities can be created and most stakeholders believed that partnerships are important for ensuring student success (Epstein et al., 2009). A plethora of research supports the relationship between student achievement and parent involvement in education (Christenson, 2004; Epstein, 2007; Okpala, Okpala, & Smith, 2001; Shepard, Trimberger, McClintock & Lecklider, 1999), including the association of parental involvement with substantial benefits of greater student success for children and a decrease in misbehavior as well as increased parental support for teachers and schools (Minke & Anderson, 2005). A study of 42 elementary schools conducted in North Carolina by Okpala et al. (2001) concluded that parental involvement is a key component of school reform. Yet, in spite of the fact that parental involvement has a positive impact on students and their achievement, a large number of school systems in the United States still suffer from the lack of parental support and involvement.

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Evidence of the Problem at the Local Level LS’s district has approximately 30 schools listed as high priority schools and 34 schools at risk of being placed on the list of failing schools. About one-third of the district’s schools are struggling to meet the NCLBA requirements (Tennessee Department of Education, 2009). One of the district’s reforms advocated the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning in many elementary schools in 2005. Kriete (2002) highlighted the approach, which was developed by the Northeast Foundation for Children. The seven beliefs underlying the Responsive Classroom are as follows: (a) Social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum; (b) How children learn is as important as what children learn; (c) Cognitive growth occurs through social interaction; (d) Children need to learn and practice these social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, self-control; (e) We must know our children individually, culturally, and developmentally; (f) Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children; and (g) Teachers and administrators must model the social and academic skills. (Kriete, 2002, p.4)

This approach emphasizes the importance of building relationships with parents in order to bridge the gap between school and home. The district displayed an understanding of the importance of reaching out to parents by the establishment of the Department of Parent and Community Engagement. In addition, they created the Parent Assembly, which encourages the active participation of parents throughout the district. However, several schools in economically disadvantaged areas are still struggling with poor parent participation. The low return rate of less than 5% of the PSCS is an indication that more parental involvement is needed within the district.

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Part of the rationale for conducting this study included disgruntled teachers. The researcher observed LS’s frustrated teachers at several different events. Teachers were frustrated by the lack of parent attendance at parent-teacher conferences, curriculum night, and open houses—less than 10% of parents came. Often teachers said that staying for these different events was a waste of valuable time because parents did not show up. LS needed a program to help the school promote more parental involvement. If key stakeholders, such as educators, parents, students, and administrators, understand the effects of parental involvement on student achievement, as well as the factors that contribute to the lack of parental involvement, then educators can create a bridge between school and home. After years of research, Epstein and Sanders (2006) asserted that students perform better when school, family and community work together to support their learning and development. The recent reforms recognize that education is a shared responsibility that includes parents, students, teachers, administrators and the community. According to Epstein and Sanders (2006), it is crucial that teacher preparation programs include coursework that will help future educators understand the importance of parental involvement as well as how to develop effective partnerships. In addition, colleges are encouraged to include suggestions on how to deal with all parents including single parents, teenage parents, economically disadvantaged parents, parents with limited English-language skills, and wealthy parents. To reach the national goals set by NCLB, 2002 it is crucial that teachers develop positive relationships with parents, and schools implement effective partnerships.

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In summary, schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods are struggling to implement effective family partnerships. LS is one urban elementary that is experiencing difficulty getting parents involved in their child’s education. This lack of parent participation can be seen throughout this school district. Many urban school districts within the United States are experiencing the same difficulties with trying to meet the mandates of NCLB, 2002. Okpala et al., 2001; Epstein & Sanders, 2006; and Blankstein, 2004 emphasized the development of parental involvement programs as a key component to school reform. Research has shown that effective family and community partnerships can have a positive effect on student achievement and emotional development. Definitions Adequate yearly progress (AYP): AYP is the minimum level of academic improvement that school districts and schools must achieve each year as determined under the federal NCLBA, 2001 (Tennessee Department of Education, 2008). Good standing school: A good standing school is a school that has made AYP for all benchmarks (Tennessee Department of Education, 2008). High priority school: A high priority school is a school that has not made adequate yearly progress (AYP) for the same benchmark two or more years in a row (Tennessee Department of Education, 2008). Parental involvement: The acts of parents or guardians helping the school succeed and maintain certain goals, it may take the form of parents helping their children with homework, volunteering in classrooms, and attending meetings (Minke & Anderson, 2005).

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Partnership: The collaboration of schools, parents, and community in sharing responsibility for children’s development (Epstein et al., 2009). Target school: A target school is a school that has not made AYP for at least one benchmark for one year. Being designated a target school is simply a warning -- no penalties incur (Tennessee Department of Education, 2008). Significance According to Minke and Anderson (2005), researchers defined parental involvement as parents helping the school to be successful and maintain certain goals it has set for itself. Often parental involvement adopted the form of parents helping their children with homework, volunteering in classrooms, and attending meetings. In contrast, however, most teachers tended to define parent involvement as parents being visible at the school instead of other activities (Minke & Anderson, 2005). Parental involvement has been encouraged for many years throughout the United States and is mandated in schools that receive Title One federal funding (Lyons, Robbins, & Smith, 1983). The Educate America Act of 1994 placed emphasis on increased parent participation and parental support to facilitate more academic growth nationally. According to Blankstein (2004), the act created “a significant set of challenges and he stated that relations between school, family, and community can often be minimal or even rocky---rife with misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and disagreements” (p.168). Even a decade after Goals 2000, America is still struggling to promote effective partnerships that will increase parental involvement (Blankstein, 2004).

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In 1994 about 90% of the teachers surveyed by the Center on Families, Communities, Schools and Children’s Learning felt that parental involvement was beneficial. Still, 58% did not support initiating such involvement (2004). Productive and effective partnerships cannot be formed until parents, teachers, students as well as the community understand that each individual plays a key role in the development of the children (Epstein et al., 2009). According to a study conducted by Halsey (2005) at Redwood Junior High School, the parents and teachers were unsure of their role concerning parental involvement. Parents did not understand how to be involved with the school besides attending extracurricular activities, and the teachers did not know how to initiate the involvement (Halsey, 2005). To achieve the goals set forth by the government, a program or guide that includes research-based strategies needs to be given to schools that are struggling with parental involvement. LS is experiencing low levels of parental involvement with academics and is struggling to meet AYP. This study addressed the problem of establishing effective partnerships with parents and provided LS with the necessary tools for implementation. Schools that set academic goals to increase student achievement in reading, math, and science must include community and family involvement programs to ensure that students reach their highest potential. Epstein et al. (2009) expressed that when high- quality programs are implemented, they help students attain higher achievement levels. It is critical that teachers develop positive collaboration with parents, one that encourages parental involvement and support. Administrators, teachers, and parents need to realize the positive effect parental involvement contributes to education. Teachers inevitably

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recognize the effects of involved parents, whether they are present physically or present psychologically. Many teachers recognize those students who are receiving extra help and encouragement at home. Parental involvement is one of the most significant aspects to improving student achievement in school systems across the nation (Starr, 2005; Canter, 2002; Minke, 2005; Reilly, 2008). According to The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), America’s School Act of 1994; Goals 2000, NCLB, 2002 and Title I, parental involvement has been emphasized to improve student achievement nationally (Epstein et. al., 2009). The Goals 2000 in the 1990s set partnerships as a voluntary national goal for all schools (Epstein, Sanders, Simon, et. al., 2002). According to the Government Accountability Office (2008), Title I of the ESEA, as amended and reauthorized by NCLB, 2002, authorized federal funds to help elementary and secondary schools establish and maintain programs that would improve the educational opportunities of economically disadvantaged children. These initiatives demonstrated the understanding and importance of the different positive roles parents can play in education (Minke & Anderson, 2005). Guiding Research Question Even though parental involvement appears to have a positive impact on student achievement it continues to be low in this urban elementary school. Not only is parental involvement low, but also LS is struggling to meet AYP and decrease behavioral problems. Parental support in the LS ranges from 1% to 5% participation in different activities such as attending school programs, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences,

Full document contains 188 pages
Abstract: Despite decades of national initiatives and federally funded programs, research still indicates that many low socioeconomic school districts continue to experience difficulty in getting parents involved with their child's education. The purpose of this project study was to design a theoretically based, longitudinal program that will assist an urban, Title 1 elementary school (LS) located in the southeastern part of the United States in the creation and implementation of strategies and techniques to increase parental involvement. Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory and Epstein's parent involvement typology model were used as the theoretical framework for this study. The framework provided a guide for both diagnosing where specific areas of involvement were lacking as well as for how those areas can be improved. Descriptive data were collected from teachers via Epstein's Measure of School, Family, and Community Partnerships survey in order to determine which areas had the greatest deficiencies. Parenting, volunteering, decision making and collaborating with the community were identified as areas that needed improvement. A three-year, comprehensive "Parent Involvement Action Program" (PIAP) was then developed to address these four areas of need. The program is designed to facilitate involvement through the creation of teacher-led focus groups and action teams that will be responsible for establishing goals and selecting strategies to be employed each year. Yearly follow-up surveys will also be administered to determine on-going program effectiveness. This project study promotes positive social change through increased parent involvement in the academic lives of students at LS, improved parent-school partnerships and, ultimately, increases in student achievement.