Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Kathryn K. Franklin

Committee Members

Eric S. Glover, Glenn Bettis, Pamela Evanshen


Parent involvement is essential if students are to succeed in school. In fact, "parental involvement is more important to student success, at every grade level, than family income or education" (Starr, 2004). Yet many schools struggle to effectively engage parents in the education of their children as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 now requires.

The purpose of this study was to explore parents', administrators', and guidance counselors' perceptions of parent involvement at a Title I elementary school and a non-Title I elementary school, both of which are located in the southern Appalachian region of the United States, to identify successful parental involvement practices, and to determine the perceived impact of parent involvement on student achievement and school improvement. Specifically, this study explored the strategies employed within the 2 elementary schools to encourage parent involvement, identified effective practices of highly involved parents at the 2 schools, and determined barriers to parental involvement at the 2 elementary schools.

The findings of this study suggested that parents in both elementary schools have very similar perceptions of parent involvement. Parents from each school reported that they feel welcome in their children's school, communicate regularly with school personnel, engage in parent-child learning activities, and serve on decision making bodies within the school. Surprisingly, parents in both schools expressed a desire for more parent involvement and perceived some parents as not having an equal opportunity to participate in school functions.

School personnel identified barriers to parent involvement and described the manner in which they were working to overcome challenges in their respective schools. While principals articulated the desire for greater parent involvement, they perceived their schools as providing opportunities for all parents to be actively engaged in the educational process.

Recommendations from the study include providing parents with a specific definition of parent involvement so there is a clear understanding that parent involvement encompasses more than "physical presence," and establishing parent-to-parent outreach programs to mentor those who are reluctant or new to the school.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.