Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Richard Penny


Parent involvement is an important contributor to students’ academic and social success in school; however, parent involvement at an urban secondary school has lagged, specifically in activities that have been shown to have a positive influence on student achievement. The research problem focused on parents’ perceptions of their participation, reasons for and against engaging in school activities, and what the school under study could do to support their involvement. The purpose of this study was to explore parents’ perceptions about their involvement in school activities as a means of identifying strategies to increase their engagement. A conceptual framework based on Epstein et al.’s typology guided this study. A basic qualitative design was used to capture the insights of 10 parent participants through individual interviews. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking, an audit trail, reflexivity, and rich descriptions. The findings revealed three themes: parents’ understanding of parental involvement, constraints to parental involvement, and methods and strategies for parental involvement. Parents perceived that teachers and administrators should welcome their involvement, create events that recognize parent challenges, and engage parent support. A professional development project was created to provide teachers and school staff such as administrators and office personnel with strategies to develop effective parent-school teams. This study has implications for positive social change by providing a structure to increase parent involvement in school-based activities. This, in turn, could positively influence students’ academic journey and achievement.