Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Timothy Lafferty


Parent involvement is as an important contributor to students' academic and social success in school. However, parent involvement at a suburban public K-4 school has lagged, specifically in activities that have been shown to have a positive influence on student achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine parents' perceptions about their involvement in school activities as a means of identifying strategies to increase their engagement. A conceptual framework based on Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's motivational constructs for involvement guided this study. The research questions focused on parents' perceptions of their participation, reasons for and against engaging in school activities, and what the school could do to support their involvement. A purposeful sampling method was used to select participants from among 3rd and 4th grade parents. A basic qualitative design was used to capture the insights of 9 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 that parents perceived 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 with strategies to develop effective parent-teacher teams. This study has implications for positive social change by providing a structure to increase parent involvement in constructive and purposeful partnerships with teachers and the school. This in turn could positively influence students' academic journey and achievement.