Date of Conferral







Bernita Smith-Stiles


AbstractParent involvement in children’s school experience has been shown to be important to academic success. Although African American parents approach their parenting in culturally unique ways, these have not been adequately explored or described. Many African American children grow up in a household with a single mother and an involved but nonresident father; the purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of these fathers with their grade school children’s schools and education. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory underpinned the research. Using a qualitative phenomenological design, data was collected from a sample of 10 nonresident African American fathers using a semi structured interview guide. The research question and sub-questions focused on noncustodial African American fathers’ depictions of their participation in their children’s academic success. The data were analyzed using a modified van Kaam method, with member checking and active processes for ensuring trustworthiness of the data. The results of this study indicated noncustodial African American fathers had helpful practices for learning in the home, honest communication, and exposure to useful educational and extra-curricular activities as meaningful influences in their children’s academic achievement. This study provided an understanding of nonresident African American fathers’ experiences with their children in pursuit of academic achievement which may be helpful to schools and teachers in for acknowledgement and better support of their involvement leading to positive social change.