Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Program

Early Childhood Education

Date of Award

12-2015

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Amy Malkus

Committee Members

Pam Evenshan, Jane Broderick

Abstract

This study examined the delivery of information and services offered to grandparents who had become the primary caregivers of pre-k through third grade students to determine if the information and services were effective in decreasing chronic early absence as defined by Chang and Romero (2008). This mixed-method, multi-case study focused on the perceived needs of custodial grandparents and examined if the school system was meeting their needs through delivery of information and services. The researcher sought participation from 5 custodial grandparents who had grandchildren in pre-k, kindergarten, first, second, or third grades in a Northeast Tennessee school system and whose grandchildren had accumulated absences that met the definition of chronic early absenteeism (10% or more absences) as defined by Chang and Romero (2008). Skyward Database provided a list of families who met the aforementioned criteria. The average age of this group of grandparents was 51.8 with a range of ages from 48 to 54.The comparison group, also retrieved from the Skyward Database, included 4 custodial grandparents whose grandchildren had the highest attendance rates (top 5%). The average age of this group was 53 with a range of ages from 48 to 59. Researcher-developed questionnaires and interviews were used to determine outcomes and major findings. [a1] Major findings included 1) A Chi Squared Test determined that children in grandparent-led households were significantly more likely to meet the criteria of chronic early absence than children from parent/other guardian-led households; 2) 100% of grandparents in both groups had not heard of chronic early absence, 33% of teachers had not heard of chronic early absence, and 50% of Family Resource Center Staff had not heard of chronic early absence; 3) 47% of grandparent-led households met the criteria of chronic early absence while only 18% of parent/other guardian-led households met criteria of chronic early absence; 4) 0% of the parents were involved in the child’s life or education in the grandparent-led households while 50% of the parents were involved in the child’s life or education in parent/other guardian-led households; 5) 20% of children in grandparent-led households with chronic early absence had disciplinary actions while 100% of children in grandparent-led households with high attendance had significant disciplinary actions; and 6) Sickness was the primary reason for absences in grandparent-led families with chronic early absence; 7) A majority of grandparents in both groups used verbal communication with teachers and school staff, but written communication was preferred by each group.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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