Date of Award

5-8-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Cathy Kaufman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Wenfan Yan, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David Piper, Ed.D.

Abstract

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Education Act has amplified the implications of including parents in the education process. The benefits of parental involvement coupled with the teachers' and parents’ role in promoting involvement have been researched and studied for many years. Few studies focus solely on the principal’s role in promoting parent involvement, however. This study will examine the specialized association and participation of rural elementary principals in the parent involvement process by focusing on Dr. Joyce Epstein’s Six Types of Parent Involvement. Other frameworks, such as those used by Deborah Meier, Michael Fullan, and Jim Collins are also consulted as a backdrop to the research questions. Five elementary principals of Blue Ribbon Award winning, rural, Pennsylvania elementary schools provided this qualitative study’s core data through in-depth, individual, on-site interviews. In concert with the review of literature, the findings of this study revealed that a principal’s visibility, communication abilities, ability to gain teacher commitment, and ability to garner parents’ trust are paramount to successful principal promotion of parent involvement. Separate interviews with two parent groups from the award-winning schools confirmed the data gathered from the principals. Future research relative to this study could include the investigation of the role of the parent groups of award-winning schools more deeply to determine their impact on improved student learning.

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