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THE IMPACT OF PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT ON STUDENT SUCCESS: SCHOOL AND FAMILY PARTNERSHIP FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF STUDENTS
In this study, the impact of school-family relationships on student success were examined through the narratives of three fifth-grade students, their teachers, and the school’s curriculum coach. The study used these stories to understand better how student success was altered by parental involvement in the students’ academic, social, and emotional life.
The participants were selected from the same school located in a major southeastern city. The students and teachers were in the same class (within their respective roles) and the curriculum coach was closely connected to the other five participants through his administrative role. The students varied with regards to academic ability, demographics, and socioeconomics.
Through data gleaned from interviews, the study illuminated how participant students and educators interpreted various events within the students’ academic and family lives and how those events influenced personal success. All six narratives provided a more robust understanding regarding the interactions, relationships, communication, motivations, and responsibilities within the school-family relationship and how these elements impacted student success.
This research used a narrative method that guided analysis of significant elements and trends from the participants’ stories. Narrative research is a type of qualitative research that focuses entirely on individual narratives, whether written, spoken or otherwise visually represented. This study employed the Overlapping Spheres of Influence of Parent, School, and Community Involvement (Epstein, 2009) as a theoretical framework. Epstein’s six types of identified involvement including; parenting, communication, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating in the community framed both the research questions and analysis within the study.
The findings of this study offer insightful personal accounts that may aid in the success of other students, families, and schools. Due to the qualitative nature of the methodology, this research, and its findings, cannot provide generalizable best practices for student success. Rather, the study offers insights that may assist educators and parents in better approaching the schoolfamily relationship utilizing family structure, schools, and the surrounding community.
Ultimately, four areas of investment were identified in the research including; responsibility, motivation, communication, and student relationships with teachers and parents. These identified areas formed a well-rounded perspective on student success and how parents played a role in that success. Ultimately, the personal accounts imparted by the students, teachers, and curriculum coach provided valuable perspectives into their educational experiences and viewpoints and formed relevant insights to be reviewed by teachers, parents, and school community.
Keywords: Joyce Epstein’s Spheres of Influence, Parental Involvement, Communication