Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Leonard Burrello, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jeannie Kleinhammer-Tramill, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anthony Rolle, Ph.D.

Keywords

Parent Involvement, School Choice, Social Justice

Abstract

This study investigated a district magnet program that required high levels of actual parental involvement. The district that houses this program uses Epstein's framework of parent involvement to reach out to all families. The research sought to match parent responses with the magnet program expectations and the Epstein framework. Interviews were conducted and completed with twenty-four participants including diverse backgrounds. Particularly sought after were parents from different ethnic groups and gender within two separate middle schools. The research also endeavored to learn how the district school choice program forced parents to navigate their child's enrollment, whether at the elementary school or middle school levels.

My findings suggested that the parents in this study fit into more than one framework. During the study, two more frameworks emerged that better place parent engagement with the student choice program along with that of Epstein. My working hypothesis was that a "one size fits all" parent involvement framework does not exist for parents who chose this magnet program.

My study suggests that school districts need to reach out to all parents in whatever form works for both parties: the parents and school programs. School districts are charged with developing the flexibility needed to meet families where they are and provide support necessary to sustain higher levels of parent involvement. This action will lead to more success in the familial journey through their child's educational experience.

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