Parental Involvement at the High School Level: Parents’ Perspectives
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Research has shown that parental involvement in the educational experiences of their children increases student achievement and strengthens school programs. The majority of this research, however, has concentrated on the primary and elementary levels, with little being known about parental involvement at the middle and high school levels. This study sought to add to the literature related to parental involvement at the high school level by examining the experienced meaning of parental involvement from the perspective of high school parents. Specifically, parents of tenth-graders attending a low-income urban high school located in the southwestern United States with an ethnically diverse population were interviewed. These parents varied with regard to their economic status, cultural background, educational background, and personal beliefs. The interview sessions were semi-structured and included open-ended questions. All interview data were transcribed, coded, and analyzed according to Kvale's (1996) and Creswell's (2007) processes for analyzing data. Results indicate that these parents experienced difficulties in participating at their child’s school but often reaped benefits from their participation. While parental descriptions of their experiences of involvement were complex, multi-layered, and reflected the individuality of each participant, four major themes emerged from their stories: (1) technology and parental involvement; (2) economy and parental work schedules; (3) potential for parental growth; and (4) parental involvement outside the school. The implications of each of these themes is discussed in the context of providing suggestions to better utilize the benefits parental involvement can bring to the education provided at the high school level. To this end several suggestions are made regarding programs, practices, and services that could be implemented based on the educational and social needs of parents.
Keywords: High School, Parent, Parental involvement, Parents’ Perspective, Technology
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