Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Sheila Gregory, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Barbara Hill, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Trevor Turner, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify how the select factors of school leadership, school culture and teachers’ perceptions influence parental engagement in two Title I Urban Middle Schools. This study investigated the strategies and programs that have an impact on parental engagement to determine how these can be used to improve parental engagement in Title I Urban Middle Schools. In order to accomplish the goal of this qualitative study, two Urban Title I Middle Schools from a large school district in the Southeastern United States were selected. This research design provided the opportunity to address the research problem of the factors that influence parental engagement in two Title I Middle Schools. The researcher collected and examined relevant data from teachers’ surveys, parents’ surveys, interviews with two middle school principals, a focus group discussion with parents, an analysis of documents, and interviews with parent liaisons at each middle school.

The researcher ensured the reliability and validity of the study by utilizing the triangulation method. Reliability and validity are important to any research and are often times considered as the “rigor” that is necessary for all kinds of research (Merriam, 1995). This triangulation method included open-ended interviews, surveys, a focus group discussion, and document analysis that were instrumental in determining and understanding the experiences, perceptions, and beliefs of those participants involved in the study. The study provided rich and valuable data that were used to address the research problem of the factors that influence parental engagement in Title I Middle Schools. The findings of the study provided an understanding of the factors that affect the level of parental engagement in Title I Middle Schools and also offered insights into understanding how these factors create challenges to parents in becoming more involved. The findings concluded that the leadership style of the principal, teachers’ perceptions of parental engagement, and school culture do have a substantial influence on parental engagement. The researcher also offers recommendations for state policies, school districts, and local school administrators on how they can create and implement programs to enrich their parental engagement activities.

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