An exploration of perceptions of how school-home communication leads to parental involvement in a rural high school

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University of Alabama Libraries

Students benefit greatly from strong partnerships among parents, schools, and communities (Epstein, 2008). Heightened communication between schools and families increases students’ ability to achieve in school (Ferrara, 2015) through the completion of assignments, improved engagement in class, and better overall attitudes toward school (Shirvani, 2007). Ross (2016) connected positive parental involvement to the completion of high school and advancement into postsecondary education for students identified as at risk of dropping out. Epstein (1995, 2008) categorized parental involvement into six types: parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating with the community. However, parents do not become involved automatically. Hoover-Dempsey, Walker, and Sandler (2005) named three contributing factors in parents becoming involved in schools: parents’ role construction, invitation to become involved, and life context. The purpose of this study explored the current communication practices between parents and school in a rural secondary school and how parents and school personnel perceived the effectiveness of those practices in facilitating positive parental involvement in school. In this study, parents and school personnel were interviewed to determine their perceptions of the communication practices of a rural high school regarding its impact on parental involvement. Artifacts were also gathered from the school’s automated call-out system for review. The findings of this study revealed seven themes: Methods for Mass Communication, Types of and Reasons for Individual Communication, Communication’s Impact on Parental Involvement, How Parental Involvement Impacts Student Achievement, How Parental Involvement Changes as Students age Into High School, Perception of Current Parental Involvement Within the School, and Impact of Rural Setting on Parent Involvement. Schools should be diligent in not only using various methods to communicate with parents, but should also seek feedback as to the effectiveness of their methods, and be willing to change as the need arises. However, simply communicating information may not be enough to motivate parents to involvement. Schools should be conscious of the content they communicate in order to provide appropriate invitations to all types of involvement.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Educational leadership