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Parental perceptions of successful middle school and family partnerships: A Rhode Island case study

Joan C Fargnoli, Johnson & Wales University


This study sought to identify the occurrences of parental involvement, the implications of this involvement, and the relationships that link these occurrences. Research has shown that schools with strong parent involvement programs experience profound benefits for students, parents, teachers, and administrators (Epstein, 2001b; PTA, 2003). Through the use of a questionnaire and individual interviews, this mixed study design of a suburban middle school consisted of a population of 860 (N = 860) students and a representative sample size of 285 (N = 285). In addition, interviews were conducted with 20 (N = 20) parents. This researcher was able to identify the parental perceptions that have a positive influence on involvement together with those factors that negatively influence parental involvement and consequently result in a decline in parental participation. The data was treated utilizing qualitative methods and/or quantitative statistics. Frequencies, percentages, and measures of central tendencies were conducted. The data results identified the frequency of parental involvement, what factors specifically influence their involvement, and the types of involvement parents are willing to provide for their child. The highest levels of parental involvement identified using Epstein's six typologies are in the areas of parenting, communication, and learning at home. Parents recognize the need to be involved with their adolescent child and are willing to support learning at home. Parents want to maintain communication with their child's teachers and are willing to use alternative methods than those used at the elementary level. Continuous and open communication was a major theme throughout this study as evidenced in both the questionnaire and the interviews. This school should continue to develop avenues of communication that reach out to the families and community both as an instrument to keep them informed and also to get them involved. This school should also conduct babysitter certification classes for students and establish babysitting services that will allow more parents to actively participate in committees, workshops and school events. This information will be utilized to develop programs and policies that will increase parental involvement in the N. A. Ferri Middle School and also create change in the culture and climate of this school.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Fargnoli, Joan C, "Parental perceptions of successful middle school and family partnerships: A Rhode Island case study" (2004). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3135663.