Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Parent engagement in education benefits a child academically and socially, regardless of a family's socioeconomic status. It is critical for school personnel to use effective outreach approaches to engage and support families in their children's learning. The purpose of this qualitative bounded single case study was to explore parent and school personnel perspectives of school engagement in preschool and kindergarten programs in an urban, midwestern Title 1 PK-5 school. The research questions focused on participants' definitions of parent engagement, parental motivation to participate in a child's learning, and the factors that may deter parental engagement. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's model of parent involvement and Bronfenbrenner's bioecological systems theory framed this study. A purposeful sample of 14 parents and 5 teachers of 4-year-old kindergarten and kindergarten students and 1 principal, volunteered and participated in semi-structured interviews. Interview data were analyzed thematically using open and thematic coding strategies. Participants defined engagement as meeting a child's basic needs, supporting learning at home and school, participating in school-based activities, and home-school communication. Findings indicated that parent capacity to support learning, school climate, and the value of education are key to a child's academic and social future, volunteerism, and home-school communication. Recommendations for action include administrative formation of a parent engagement committee to create a comprehensive parent involvement policy to ensure that parent engagement efforts address the needs and interests of families. These endeavors may contribute to positive social change when administrators provide strategies and shared leadership among school personnel and parents to increase parent engagement in student learning.