This dissertation examines how parent involvement expectations are communicated and enacted in interactions at one small urban high school. Through detailed descriptions of school interactions between supporting staff and immigrant parents, this study examines how parent involvement expectations are understood and perceived. Although scholarly interest in parent involvement has existed for quite some time, few studies consider the role of supporting staff (e.g., family liaisons, testing coordinators, guidance counselors, social workers). In what ways do interactions with support staff impact constructs of parent involvement within a school? This approach provides a unique contribution to the current parent involvement literature. Through a year of ethnographic field research, I examine the experiences of school staff and parents as they interact in various spaces and engage in the process of parent involvement. Through participant observations in various parent group meetings, school events and activities, and shadowing of school staff, I explore parent involvement expectations at one small urban high school. Although most of the current literature focuses on teacher-parent relationships, findings suggest that parent contact with teachers is extremely limited, and that it is actually supporting staff that engages most in interactions with parents. These staff play a key role in shaping parents' perceptions of involvement and become the main source for understanding the school's parent involvement expectations. Findings also present a new problem in the parent involvement paradigm, where new forms of involvement are being introduced without regard to parents' reality. As the data reveal, online access is now expected as a form of involvement and for many families this is potentially an unrealistic expectation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2012. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Marina Bandeira Aleixo. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 147 pages, appendices A-B.
Aleixo, Marina Bandeira.
Immigrant parent involvement in U.S. schools: current practices and future possibilities.
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