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Action Research: Parent Involvement in Schools

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Amanda Donnally

on 18 August 2013

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Transcript of Action Research: Parent Involvement in Schools

A Journey to Increasing Parent Involvement in Schools
Determining a Topic
The topic of increasing parent involvement was derived from my observations and experiences as an elementary school teacher
-Forest Grove Elementary School is constantly struggling to get parents to be active in school events, to attend meetings or conferences, or to volunteer in classrooms.

Curiosity and theoretical interests lead me to test factors that contribute to low parent involvement in schools. Research concludes that families of minority groups and/or low socioeconomic status have low parent involvement in schools.
-Forest Grove has a diverse population; English is not the primary language of many students, and the school is located in a low socioeconomic community..
Data Collection
Quantitative data consists of data collected from the parent involvement website and activity sign-up sheet.
-Usage statistics detailing the number of parents using the website and activity sign-up sheet
-Attendance statistics detailing the number of parents in actual attendance of school events, meetings, and volunteering in classrooms

Qualitative data consists of data collected from parent and student surveys conducted at the beginning and end of the school year.
-Parent surveys include questions pertaining to parent feelings, barriers that prevent participation in school events
-Student surveys include questions pertaining to student feelings of parent involvement in school and at home

Literature Review
Scholarly journals (x6)
Websites (x2)
Books (x2)
District newsletter

Most of the research focuses on parents in minority cultures with low socioeconomic statuses. However, new research concludes that student achievement is not dependent on culture and socioeconomic status but is dependent on parent involvement in schools.

Research also concludes that it is the schools’ responsibility to take the initiative to welcome parents into schools and provide opportunities for involvement.
Reporting Results
I will report my results through three methods: Staff meetings, PTA meetings, and school newsletters.

Staff meetings
-Teachers, staff members, and administration as audience
-Common goal of increasing parent involvement to improve both student achievement and the school as a whole
-All members interact with parents and encourage parents to become or remain involved in the school

PTA meeting
-Inform parents about the benefits related to their child's education and academic success

School newsletter
-Reaches a large audience of school staff and parents
-Readers will be able to access the research on their own time
-Includes ways that parents and staff can gain more details and information about the research
Capstone: Action Research Project

Does using a parent involvement website and activity sign-up sheet increase parent involvement in schools?
Amanda Donnally
EDUC 698
American Public University
Dr. Jamie Harrison
Data organization
Quantitative data will be organized in a tabular manner to display the number of times the parent involvement website was visited, the number of parents who signed up for each event, and the actual number of parents in attendance.

Qualitative data will be parsed into a spread sheet and categorically characterized and based on content similarities.
Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics will be performed on each category of the qualitative data derived from the beginning and end of the year surveys. Both surveys will then be compared and contrasted to better understand parent and student opinions and feelings of parent involvement.

These statistics will provide the foundation for determining the effects of the parent involvement website and activity sign-up sheet.
Schools Taking Charge
Schools need to make parents feel welcome and wanted
-Send home personal invitations to school events (Benson, 2003)
-Have constant communication through phone calls, emails, newsletters, and/or student agendas (Conrad & McNelly, 2009)

Schools should create events that encourage parents to attend, such as visitation days, award ceremonies, or curriculum fairs (Benson, 2003).

School staff should hold positive perceptions of parent involvement, especially when related to student achievement (Patel & Stevens, 2010).

Schools should collaborate more effectively with families from multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds (Ryan, Casas, Kelley-Vance, & Ryalls, 2010).
Student Achievement
Parent involvement increases social and behavioral development, which, in turn, increases academic achievement (El Nokali, Bachman, & Votruba-Drzal, 2010).

Student achievement is determined by an environment that encourages learning and has high expectations for achievement and parent involvement (Olsen & Fuller, 2008).

Students with involved parents earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, have better social skills, and graduate at a higher rate (NEA, n.d.).

Parent Involvement
A commonly cited definition from No child Left Behind states parent involvement is defined as “the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities” (Department of Education, 2004).

For the purpose of this action research project, I will use parent involvement to refer to a parent or guardian participating in school activities, attending meetings, volunteering in the classroom, assisting their child with academic learning at home, and having open communication with their child’s school administration and faculty.

Parent involvement sends a message to children that their parents care about them and their school (Evans, 2004).


Benson, F. (2003). Organizing Successful Parent Involvement in Urban Schools. Child Study Journal, 33, 187-193. Retrieved May 16, 2011, from EBSCO Host.

Conrad Barnyak, N., & McNelly, T.A. (2009). An Urban School District’s Parent Involvement: A Study of Teachers’ and Adminstrators’ Beliefs and Practices. The School Community Journal, 19, 33-58. Retrieved August 6, 2013, from EBSCOHost.

Department of Education (2004). Parental involvement: non-regulatory guidance (Title 1, Part A).

El Nokali, N.E., Bachman, H.J., &Votruba-Drzal, E. (2010, May/June). Parent Involvement and Children’s academic and Social Development in Elementary School. Child Development, 8, 988-1005. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from EBSCO Host.

Evans, R. (2004).Family Matters: How schools can cope with the crisis in childrearing. (1st ed.) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

National Education Associations (n.d.). Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/tools/17360.htm

Patel, N., & Stevens, S. (2010). Parent-Teacher-Student Discrepancies in Academic Ability Beliefs: Influences on Parent Involvement. The School Community Journal, 20, 115-136. Retrieved August 6, 2013, from EBSCOHost.

Olsen, G., & Fuller, M.L. (2008). The Benefits of Parent Involvement: What Research has to Say. Retrieved from http://www.education.com/reference/article/benefits-parent-involvement-research/

Ryan, C.S., Casas, J.F., Kelly-Vance, L., & Ryalls, B.O. (2010). Parent Involvement and Views of School Success: The Role of Parents’ Latino and White American Cultural Orientations. Psychology in the Schools, 47, 391-405. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from EBSCO Host.

Clarifying a Starting Point
Narrowing down this topic (Increasing Parent Involvement in Schools) required I determine if my first impressions neglect any existing information.
-I started by examining contradictory research evidencing no correlation between parent involvement and demographics or socioeconomic factors.

I also needed to determine issues beyond the surface symptoms of the situation of parent involvement in schools.
-Are there underlying implications as to why parents are not involved in schools (e.g. cultural, personal, or religious beliefs)?
-Are there issues at the school level that are deterring parents from becoming more involved in schools such as making parents feel welcome and encouraging their involvement?
Determining a Viable Topic
I decided to focus on ways to increase parent involvement at Forest Grove to benefit my students and school as a whole.

My action research question is: Does using a parent involvement website and activity sign-up sheet increase parent involvement in schools?

If parents do not feel welcomed and/or appreciated at school...
-Ensure that the all school staff is friendly and helpful when parents come to school.

-Encourage school staff to recognize parents who attend school events, meetings, and volunteer through newsletters or personal thank you notes.

-Survey parents to discover ways to make them feel more welcomed and appreciated.
If parents are unsure of how they can be involved at school...
-Ensure that all school and individual teacher newsletters include upcoming events.

-Encourage teachers to communicate openly with parents about ways they can volunteer in their classrooms.

-Remind parents to refer to the parent involvement website and sign-up sheet to view upcoming events, meetings, and volunteer opportunities.
If the parent involvement website and sign-up sheet are not being used effectively...
-Remind staff to add classroom and school events to the website and emphasize the impact this has on encouraging parents to become more involved in their child's education

-Ensure that the website is easy for parents to use

-Emphasize to parents that this is a website for them and encourage parents to provide feedback on the website
Potential Discoveries
Parents do not feel welcomed and/or appreciated at school.

Parents are unsure of how they can be involved at school.

The parent involvement website and sign-up sheet are not being used effectively.
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