Increasing Parent Involvement in Middle Level Education: A Narrative Inquiry

Increasing Parent Involvement in Middle Level Education: A Narrative Inquiry

Author: 
Vanessa R. Elliott
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Parent involvement is a key element to student achievement and impacts behavior; however, parent involvement decreases substantially in middle level education. The purpose of the qualitative, narrative study was to discover the daily experiences that impact parent involvement in middle level education. The qualitative narrative study involved purposive, snowball sampling of 20 parent volunteers who participated in focus group and telephone interviews. Parents of students enrolled in middle level education, in the District of Columbia, shared their lived experiences of involvement by responding to 10 open-ended questions. Parent volunteers described the daily experiences that impact their level of involvement in their children’s middle level education and eight themes emerged from the qualitative data that was analyzed using NVivo 11 software. Thematic analysis helped to identify eight themes during the qualitative data analysis of the transcribed interviews: (a) work schedules of parents; (b) more independence for adolescents; (c) lack of communication from schools and educators; (d) multiple children; (e) lack of education of parents; (f) improved communication from schools and educators; (g) hire more experienced and dedicated teachers; and (h) plan more school events that include parents. The parent accounts and experiences of this qualitative, narrative inquiry may assist educational leadership with: the implementation of training programs that will help teachers involve parents more in their children’s education, the development of more opportunities for parent engagement, and the development of procedures that lead to increasing communication to parents. Suggestions for future research and recommendations conclude the study.
Dedication: 
To my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who is the focal point of my life. To all the dedicated, hardworking parents who strive to make a better life for their children. To my husband who has been my cheerleader and prayer partner. To my mom who always offered words of wisdom during times when I needed them the most. To my parents who always found ways to make me laugh even when I did not want to laugh. To the memory of my grandmother who instilled in me a kind and loving heart. Lastly, to those dedicated middle level educators who work hard to make a difference in THE MIDDLE.
Acknowledgements: 
My sincere appreciation and gratitude go to Dr. Catherine Dikes who encouraged me to maintain a positive outlook and who truly believed in me with continuous support and valuable feedback. My sincere gratitude goes to my committee members, Dr. Jean Plough and Dr. Libi Shen, for agreeing to serve on my dissertation committee and providing valuable feedback. I want to thank my mother who printed out several copies of various chapters and helped to proofread my dissertation for accuracy. My mom has also provided tremendous support and encouragement in my times of need. I also want to thank my husband for standing by my side and praying for me, and with me. In addition, I thank my church, The New Macedonia Baptist Church, for allowing me to conduct my focus group interviews on the premises. Last, but not least, I want to give my deepest appreciations to all the parents who volunteered their time to participate in the focus group discussions during the data collection phase of my research project.