All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Linda Searby

Advisory Committee Members

John A Dantzler

Tonya Perry

Loucrecia Collins

Gary B Peters

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education

Abstract

Adolescents present a unique collection of characteristics and challenges for which middle school interdisciplinary teams were designed to address. Current research focuses on teacher-specific strategies which can be utilized in order to increase parental involvement. However, there is little literature addressing how an interdisciplinary team approach to involving parents alters the face of parent-teacher communication. The central research question for this study was, "What are the strategies utilized by interdisciplinary middle school teams to effectively involve the parents of their students in the educational process?" The researcher utilized a multiple-case study approach with three central Alabama middle school interdisciplinary teams: one from a suburban setting, one from a rural setting, and one from an urban setting. An interdisciplinary team at each middle school participated in multiple interviews, responded to journal questions, and was observed at parent nights and related events. Parents were also included as participants through focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and written questionnaires. At each site, the researcher discovered the similarities and differences in the teachers' and parents' definitions of parental involvement, their attitudes toward parental involvement, strategies implemented by each team to involve parents, and strategies perceived as effective by team parents. The researcher identified several themes within each setting, as well as four cross-case themes. All of the interdisciplinary teams in this research study utilized strategies grounded in a belief regarding the essential role parental involvement plays, maintained an open and approachable attitude toward parents, served as a resource to parents, and approached problem-solving opportunities as a team. The findings of this study serve as a bridge between what is known about adolescent development, best middle school interdisciplinary teaming models, and the essential nature of parental involvement in education.

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