Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Lawrence Leonard

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to identify, analyze, and compare the perceptions of parents and school administrators in regard to school-family partnerships in three middle schools in the State of Louisiana. The study investigated the similarities and dissimilarities between parent and school administrator perceptions, probed to determine underlying factors that may lead to apparent discrepancies, and solicited recommendations for improvements from parents and administrators. The study was based on Epstein's Six Types of Involvement framework which cites six specific areas of parental-school-community partnerships and explains how each component affects the educational process of students (Epstein, 1995; Epstein, et al., 2009). Parallel versions of the Measure of School, Family and Community Partnership Survey (Epstein, et al., 2009) were given to parents and administrators. A mixed-methods approach combined t-test analyses of survey results with interviews and document evaluation. The quantitative analyses revealed statistically significant differences in perceptions in the areas of parenting, communicating, and decision making; while the components of volunteering, learning at home, and collaboration revealed no significant differences. The qualitative analysis resulted in several overall emergent themes: misaligned perceptions of school administrators and parents concerning levels of needed middle student autonomy, a desire by administrators and parents for more parental volunteering, a disconnect between communication methods deemed effective by schools and used effectively by parents, parental perceptions of a lack in personal communication with educators, perceived communication with educators, perceived inadequacies in the practice of schools sending correspondence to parents through their children, and a disconnect between how much decision making parents should have and how much they were getting. Although misaligned perceptions were noted, both quantitatively and qualitatively, it was evident that both parents and administrators had the best interests of the students in mind.

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