Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Gibbs Kanyongo

Committee Member

Connie Moss

Committee Member

Robert Furman


Perspectives, beliefs, parental involvement, Pennsylvania, high schools, public education


Historically, school systems have used their personnel, curricular, and fiscal resources to improve student performance. Faculty members in nearly every school have participated on committees focused on preparing school improvement plans to address the needs of their specific student populations. Nearly all have included a parent involvement component. The quality of design and implementation of annual school improvement plans has varied both across and within schools. The component that is more often "hoped for" than actualized has been parent involvement (Blank & Kershaw, 2001; Epstein, 2004). Rarely has the involvement of the community extended beyond fiscal support or the involvement of community role models for special events. As noted in the introduction, the need for real partnerships has become apparent as schools are now focusing on systemic reform. Based on the literature throughout, the voices of parents and community, leaders can no longer be marginalized if schools are to address the national call for increasing student engagement and achievement in rigorous coursework, the challenge of an increasingly competitive workforce, the diverse needs of children and families, the requirements of the No Child Left Behind (Executive Summary, 2006) reform movement, and the need to assure that communities remain strong and viable places to live and work.

The intent of this study was to examine the perspectives of high school principals and assistant principals in the state of Pennsylvania toward parental involvement, and identify potential barriers to parental involvement from the perspective of the school administrator. This study will also seek to determine if perspectives are different based on principals' gender, race, professional title, years of experience, size of school, school setting. A survey was sent to all principals of public high schools in the state of Pennsylvania, which resulted in an overall response rate of 103 respondents, representing 26.8% of the sample.