Date of Conferral







Donna Russell


AbstractParental engagement supports children academically. However, African American parents engage at lower levels than other parents. The purpose of this generic qualitative study was to understand the experiences of urban preschool parents in a blended parental engagement program. A combination of critical race theory, experiential learning, social learning theory, and andragogy served as the conceptual framework. Data were collected through semi structured face-to-face interviews with eight African American parents, observational field notes, and an archival review of preschool documents in a Southeast U.S. state’s innovative parental engagement program that incorporates technology. Findings from inductive thematic analysis indicated three major themes. The first theme was the school-wide parental engagement program. The program used technologies such as Class Dojo with school wide activities to engage all parents. The second theme was the parental engagement program within the classroom activities. These collaborative activities included a Parent Engagement Activity day that allowed the parents into the classroom. Finally, the parental perceptions were influenced positively by the daily face-to-face contact with the school’s staff, the inclusion of multiple technologies to communicate and the respectful and positive nature of these ongoing communications. Findings revealed that intentional communication through innovative means built trusting relationships, which stimulated and promoted ongoing parental engagement. Results may be used to support the development of parental engagement programs in other urban schools.