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Family -school partnerships in Rhode Island suburban middle schools

Lorraine A Bowen, Johnson & Wales University


Family involvement has achieved a prominent role in education reform. Thus far, however, studies of parent involvement have not provided a clear understanding of the mechanisms that encourage parents to become engaged in their child's education (Kerbow & Bernhardt, 1993). Research further indicates that parental involvement in the middle schools is less frequent than that in the elementary schools (Epstein, 1991; Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Seitsinger, Felner, Minsuk, Brand, & Gu, 2001). The purpose of this study is to develop a deeper understanding of parents', teachers' and students' perceptions of school and family partnerships at the middle school level and the factors that influence these partnerships. This qualitative study is grounded in Epstein's (1995) framework of six typologies that affect school and family partnerships. Three suburban middle schools that engage in successful partnerships are chosen through purposive sampling. The three middle schools are chosen from a sample that met two criteria: (1) comprising middle level grades, including grades six, seven, and eight, and (2) implementing two or more of the six types of school and family partnership programs identified in Epstein's (1995) typologies. Teachers, parents, and students are identified through snowball sampling and interviewed using a semi-structured open-ended survey protocol. Interviews with respondents include 10 teachers, 10 parents and 18 students. As a result of this study, practices emerge that enable and encourage stronger school and family partnerships.

Subject Area

Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Bowen, Lorraine A, "Family -school partnerships in Rhode Island suburban middle schools" (2003). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3106401.