Professional staff and parent perceptions of parental involvement in the Fallsburg Central School District
Milton, Walter, Jr
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Research which measured parents' and professional staffs' perceptions of parental involvement according to Epstein's six typologies of involvement was conducted in the Fallsburg Central School District, Fallsburg, New York. Epstein's framework of six types of involvement included (a) parenting, (b) communicating, (c) volunteering, (d) learning at home, (e) decision making, and (f) collaborating with the community. The study was a secondary analysis of an existing database of responses to a district survey administered by the board of education. Sixty-six professional staff and 60 parents participated in the study. In addition to measuring professional staffs' and parents' perceptions, four parent focus group interviews were conducted with groups of 3 to 8 persons, with group interviews conducted separately for Hispanic parents, parents of elementary, junior high, and high school students. In all areas of the survey, there were significant differences noted between professional staff (teachers and administrators) and parents. Professional staff generally perceived their schools to be practicing the parental involvement activities within each Epstein typology more than did their counterparts, parents. Further analysis of demographics indicated that older professional staff and parents tended to rate the extent to which activities were practiced in schools higher than younger professional staff and parents. White parents rated parental involvement activities practiced in their children's schools as more frequent than Hispanic, Native American and other ethnic group respondents. Professional staff and parent respondents tended to rate the frequency of parental involvement activities more highly the longer they had lived in the district. Focus group discussion revealed that language was a major barrier for many Latino parents in their child's education. Logistical issues, such as transportation and scheduling of events, were obstacles cited by minority parents.