Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mark Stallo


In 2012, the Missouri Board of Education took away Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) accreditation status. For over 40 years, KCPS has struggled with poor academic achievement, decreased enrollment and budget, and numerous leadership turnovers. Although KCPS regained provisional accreditation in 2014 and earned enough points on the annual performance report for consideration to become a fully accredited school system, state education officials first want to ensure that the district can sustain its new performance level before granting full accreditation. The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to explore parents' perceptions about how the KCPS' parent involvement policy and practices can be improved to better engage parents in their children's education and assist the school district in regaining and sustaining its full accreditation. Putnam's social capital theory served as the theoretical foundation of this study. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with a snowball sample of 21 parents, 7 from each school. Data were analyzed through Braun and Clarke's 6 phases of thematic analysis. Findings indicated the need for school personnel to be more welcoming to visiting parents, creating afterhours activities for working parents, increasing points of contact between parents and school personnel, teachers investing more time and effort in students, and school personnel making more efforts to keep parents informed. The implications for positive social change are directed at KCPS policymakers, school district leaders, teachers, and staff members as findings can be used to develop and improve policies and practices geared towards improving parents' involvement, which may help KCPS to regain and sustain full accreditation.