Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Hallums


The area of family engagement and its benefits to the academic outcomes of students has been well researched. Educators, including practitioners and those who prepare them, and community members need to understand more about the leadership actions of principals, especially in urban, low-income predominantly African American schools, that lead to effective communication and learning at home partnerships. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the leadership actions of principals that support teachers establishing productive communication and learning at-home family engagement practices. Epstein’s school, family, and community partnership model was the framework that guided this research. Research questions were designed to explore the perspectives of school principals, teachers, and family members on the effectiveness of the actions of the school principal that led to productive family-school partnerships. Data were collected from interviews with 8 principals with at least 3 years of experience as a school principal, and district personnel supplied archival data from climate surveys. A priori and open coding were used to support interpretive analysis of the data. Results indicated that leadership actions around establishing a clear vision, monitoring, and accountability were most useful in supporting teachers in establishing effective communication and learning-at-home partnerships. Recommendations include better preparation and professional development for school leaders. Implications for positive social change include improving services for students in low-income predominately African American schools, for their families, and for their communities.