Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Eric S. Glover, Louise L. MacKay


The cultivation of parent involvement in America's public schools is no longer an option. Under the provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: No Child Left Behind (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 2001), it is now a mandate. Moreover, in the current climate of emphasis upon student performance and school accountability, schools need not just the support of parents, but also their full involvement in meaningful partnerships.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to develop a better understanding of the factors that significantly affect the level of parent involvement during the middle-school years. This was accomplished through the use of open-ended interviews with 24 participants in Northeast Tennessee comprised of 4 elementary and 4 middle-school principals along with 16 middle-school parents who were identified by their child's principal as having been highly involved when their child was in elementary school.

The findings from this study suggested that the parent and principal perceptions regarding the factors that influence the decline in parent involvement during the middle-school years are often quite different. In general, perceptions of parents and principals that were held in common were those associated with the role of the parent, the positive effects of parent involvement upon student success, and the role of the principal in modeling the encouragement of parent involvement. The finding suggested, however, that there was significant disparity between parent and principal perceptions with regard to how well middle schools encourage parent involvement.

Major recommendations included middle schools communicating with feeder elementary schools to identify highly involved parents of rising middle-school students, a system of personally contacting such parents as a means to encourage their continued involvement, and the establishment of a dialogue among parents and educators with regard to developing an action plan based upon best practices.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.