A Qualitative Study Exploring Guardian Participation of African-american Students in Ohio Middle Schools

A Qualitative Study Exploring Guardian Participation of African-american Students in Ohio Middle Schools

Author: 
Redelia Q. House
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to look into the perceptions of administrators, guardians of African-American students, counselors, teachers, and former African–American students regarding their experiences of involvement with students' guardians in the Ohio Urban City Public School System. This study was conducted to gain a more thorough understanding as to the reason why there is a lack of guardian involvement from low-income households and how it could improve their children’s education while obtaining an urban school education in the state of Ohio. Furthermore, it was conducted to understand the factors that prevent guardians from getting involved and to seek ways to encourage involvement in urban schools. The purposeful sample of this study included 20 participants. Data collected through face-to-face interviews, questionnaires, and research questions provided a comprehensive understanding concerning the perceptions of administrators, guardians of African-American students, counselors, teachers, and former African –American students regarding their experiences of involvement with students' guardians. The face-to-face interview included three openended questions along with sub-questions to each question. Common themes and understanding emerged from the analysis of the participant’s perception and interview responses. The major themes derived from the study were (a) guardian involvement in the educational process was very low, but was considered important; (b) effective guardian involvement requires both parents actively participating for students’ academic success growth; (c) lack of education, family & personal issues, and outside responsibilities are some of the factors that could prevent a guardian from helping his or her child
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my parents: In honor of my father, Tommie L. House (passed away March 7, 2011), you were the drive that I needed. I did not understand until you left me how much you kept me going. Daddy, I miss you so much that when I think about you tears still fall. I wonder when they will ever end. Yes, Dad, you got on my nerves (LOL) through this process because it seemed like every time I spoke with you, you would always remind me about what I was supposed to be doing or working on. It seemed like I was getting back to what I used to do to you when we traveled from Texas to Mississippi, asking you questions like, “Are we there yet?” Now, you were asking me questions like, “When are you getting done?”, so you could prepare and come to my graduation. You never missed a graduation from elementary school to my master’s degree in college. After you passed away, I must be honest, I just stopped. I did not have the drive to complete it (you were not there anymore). But during my time away, I just knew you would not want me to stop. So, I decided to keep my word that I promised you. Thank you…you always told me how proud you were of me. Yes, I was a true Daddy’s girl. You believed in me so much that you gave me my first car (your car) and first computer (Compaq) to help me in my quest toward excellence. Thank you for all the talks and the love you have shown to me. At the end of every conversation, you would always say, “Remember, I love you”, and I would say, “I love you to Daddy’. We would talk for hours. If I was on the road, you would talk to me from my current location until I made it home safely. You were such a handed man, could fix anything, and was very knowledgeable about cars. You would make sure my car was running properly at all times. Even though you were not physically present where I lived, you always told me what to do when something was going wrong or when it should be time for me to work on getting another car. Most of all, you taught me about unconditional love and how to love a person in spite of the imperfections an individual may have. You gave me accountability and memories that would last a lifetime. To my mother, Vera Seward, the best mother in the world. Thank you for the discipline and structure to you provided for my brother and me. Without it, no telling where we would be. I glad you did not try to be our friend growing up, but our parent. The bible speaks about “training up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 31: 28), you took the word at its word and made it a reality in our life each day. You are truly a Proverbs 31 women. Your children shall rise up and call you blessed. You are the purest example of what a mother should be, strive to be, and desire to be. You have always made sure I had whatever I needed, even if you had to go without. I represent the fruits of your labor. From my accomplishments in elementary school to my all-nighters, from making sure I stayed in the top 10 of my high school class to graduating from college with multiple degrees, you saw me in you. You taught me it takes not only vision, but the drive to get me there. Whatever I thought I wanted to do, you made sure I was exposed to it. I thank God for a praying mother. You are a mother who truly lives the life for real. ‘Early in the morning will I seek Him….’ You did, and because of your relationship with God, my brother Al and I could hardly get away with almost anything. You taught me how to be a God-fearing woman. As I was growing up, you prayed over us and with us. Prayer was truly the foundation of our home. We had to recite our family motto “You are not a failure, until you fail to try again” and scripture, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippian 4:13)”. You truly made sure Al and I understood the power of words. Thank you for speaking life over us. I learned from you what true friendship is all about, how to be a friend, what makes a good wife, and that education is the tool to use to get out of poverty. Mom, when times were hard, you kept the ball moving. You always made sure we had what we needed—not everything we wanted. Thanks for committing to my development process of what it takes to be a Woman of God and not just being a woman created by God. To my stepfather/father, Albert Seward (aka “Mr. Al”) (passed away Nov.18, 2016), words cannot express what you have done for my life. You put the gravy on top. You took two children who were not biologically yours and made us your own. If someone were to ask you, “How many children do you have?”, we would always be in the number. You were always the father who bailed us out of everything. You protected us from getting in trouble; made sure I got the clothes I wanted to wear; provided my first real Christmas tree; and got my first vehicle (an 8-passenger van…even if the steering wheel went around in circles and the gas gauge was broken!). You saw fit that I had to have a vehicle. I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. You kept a roof over my head, clothes on our back, and food on our table. Thanks for bringing laughter in our home—we joked all the time. Laughter is good for the soul! You never cease to amaze me. When the doctor told my mother, that you had stage 4 cancer. It had to be a stage 5 that the doctor never seen before. When I think of you, I think of a walking miracle. If I never believed in miracles before, I truly believe in them now. The bible speaks about “calling those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17b), you did that. You spoke life over your life. Although the doctor given you months to live, you actually took those months and made them years. Most of all, you were a man that taught me forgiveness. Thank you for teaching me, Prayer is the key. When you feel down. Pray. When you feel like you been defeated, don’t stop, Pray. My life became even better because God had sent you. Thanks for being my father. Thanks parents for being everything and more!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!
Acknowledgements: 
First and foremost, I want to thank my heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, for being the head of my life, for giving me the strength and endurance to complete this dissertation, and for never leaving me, nor forsaking me, even when times were hard. There were so many obstacles that attempted to divert me from achieving this goal. Thank You for making me stronger through the many setbacks that I had to confront during this journey. Thank you for being my Jehovah; El Shaddai; Omniscient, Omnipresent, and GOD Almighty. Without You, I know I am nothing. I will be forever grateful. Secondly, to my parents, thank you for being there whenever I needed you and training me in the way I should go, so I will not depart from the Almighty Father. I LOVE YOU more than I can tell you!!! To my grandparents, the late Johnny Davidson and Ida B. Davidson: I thank you for instilling in me the importance of education. Even if you did not get the chance to have the same opportunities, you both set the expectation for our family. I am so BLESSED to call you my grandparents. To my entire family, cousins, nieces, nephews, and especially, the best aunts and uncles in the world: Annie B. (Donte), Johnnie Mae (Billy), Martha (Robert), Jeannette, Sheila, Sam (Phyllis), the late S.L. (Lenora), Henry (Betty), Dan (Dawnisha), Virginia, the late A.J., the late Doll, the late Jerry, Anne, Berth, Jesse, Willie Lois (Willie), Rose, the late Argie and Pearl. To my siblings: Al, Jackie, Toni, Deborah, my late brother Kenny, Jean, Jesse (Shirley), Jewelene (the late Jimmy), Gwendolyn J. (Robert), Jimmy, and Janice (Vaughn)…Thank you for your love, support, and the encouragement along the way; you all are truly my rock. Thirdly, I want to thank my church families, Abundant Faith Ministries COGIC (Pastor McGraw and Sis. McGraw); Greater Holy Trinity COGIC (Pastor Jackson and Sis. Jackson); and Power House COGIC (the late Pastor Anderson and Sis. Anderson) for praying for me, for bringing out the best inside of me, and for making sure I stayed focused. Also, I especially thank the following families: the Jacksons, Relifords, McGraws, Wrights, Bells, Benson-Ludles, Letts, Simmons, Butts, Giles, Gadsons, Murphys, Lewises, Olivers, Doritys, Tabbs, Graves, and the Carters—you all have always treated me like I was just another member of the family. When I needed to talk; seek wise counsel, prayer, or chastisement; needed a laugh or a shoulder to cry on; or just simply a hug, I can say, you have all been there. I cannot thank you enough. I know you all love some Dee! (LOL). I love you all! To all of my friends and close friends, especially my best friend Mark T. J., Dyisha, Christina, Anthony, Darla, Denise, Sheina, Amanda, Demetria, Cynthia, Dennis, Moses, Tim, Carla J., and Hezekiah M., thank you for being a shoulder to cry on and being someone with whom I can laugh and share time with. You accept me for me. Thank you Ziko for staying on me and making sure I finish the first three chapters. Thank you Dr. Israel K. and DeOnna for your help throughout this entire journey. To my girl, the late Mother Hattie B. Giles, I just love you. To be over 90 years of age, we talked like we were in the same age bracket. There was absolutely nothing we could not talk about. Thank you for keeping me smiling and laughing. Words cannot express how I feel about you all! To the Ladies of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Akron Alumnae Chapter and my sands (Committed 24/7), I am so thankful for being chosen to be part of the Best Sorority in the World. My sands are the best, especially Flee, Robbie, and Annette. Thank you Sorors: Dr. Morgan G. and Ms. Boutte for staying on me and help me get whatever I need. I want to thank my Godparents (the Late Deacon Felton, Mother Elizabeth Felton, and Linda) and Godchildren: Neva, Myla, and Isaiah. To my play mothers, Sis. Karen, Sis. Brantley, Sis. Jane, Mama Jones, and Mama Murphy thank you for your love and support. My joking buddy, Sis. Sandy. Thank you to the Supervisor of Women of Ohio North First Jurisdiction of the COGIC: Mother Thelma Giles-Butts (Sis. Thelma) for being the first person to speak over my life... my name was no longer Dee to you, but Dr. Dee. To my students, over the years, you have made me accountable and you made sure the same words that I spoke over your lives became reality in my life. To my teachers and professors, thank you for believing in me and pouring your knowledge inside of me that I now am able to push other students towards greatness. To my coworkers and bosses over the years, especially my favorite principles, Mr. Robert Singleton and Mr. St. Claire Adriaan, thank you for keeping me grounded and pushing me to be better. To my math mentor, the late Mrs. Delores Knapp (passed away December 2, 2015), thank you for seeing something inside of me to pour out everything you have learned about teaching math and what it takes to be a great teacher inside of me. You were such an awesome teacher that I tell my students, I am a great math teacher because of you and My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One thing about you, you did not accept 99% from me, only 100%. Out all the student teachers you could have chosen, you chose only me, this African-American girl through your teaching career to whom you could impart your knowledge. You looked pass race. You truly carried on the legacy and values of MLK, Jr.. Thank You! Every time you would see me, you would be so happy to tell others that I was your student teacher with a smile. The funny thing is, I see so much of you in my teaching that all I can do is laugh. Every time I lift my hands to write a math problem on a board, just know that I am a product of you. I will always remember you and continue to miss you each and every day. Fannie…what can I say. You are the best. When I reflect on my childhood, I cannot forget you. You were the glue that kept my mother together. You made sure your children had what they needed, as well as my brother and me. One thing I know, you could never say we did not have enough food. We ate so much meatloaf, that as an adult, I refrain from it. You were and still are the best friend my mother has ever had. I saw my mother and you put up with so much that I truly understand, God will never leave you nor forsake you. You are truly a hard-working woman. Just know your hard work is not unnoticed. Due to your hard work, all of your children (Chelsey, Timmy, Bo Bo, We We) have degrees. You have been such a great example that your children call you blessed, as well as everyone else who meets you. You are the person who never forgets my birthday. Thank you for loving my brother and me like we were your own. You are truly a virtuous woman beyond measures. Thank you for taking time out of your everyday life to come and care for my father until God took him home. It will never be forgotten, but always appreciated. You are truly one of a kind. Thank you for being a part of my journey. Last, but not least, I thank my mentor Dr. Michael Daniels (Dr. Mike) for sticking with me and never losing faith in me (I can truly say you really stuck with me and your patience was unbelievable!). You never had a negative word to say, you were always positive no matter what obstacle came our way. To my committee members Dr. Elton Lynum and Dr. Libi Shen, thank you for sharing your time and providing me with the necessary guidance along the way. Also, to every person, not mention by name who poured into me no matter how big or small it may have been, I want you to know I appreciate you too. I pray that God Bless each and every one of you hundredfold because you took the time to bless my life. Most of all, thank you for being family. I love you all. Like Sis. Kathleen Brown says every time she ends prayer: I BELIEVE GOD!!