Motivations for parent involvement within a community school setting

Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony, University of Pennsylvania


Increasingly, education reform advocates have pointed to the growing community school movement as a partial answer to the myriad challenges facing urban public education. Rooted in the ideas of John Dewey, community schools are generally defined as localized community hubs of partnerships — often serving as sources of service distribution and programming for children and adults. While several community school models exist, central to the mission of each community school is the rich engagement of parents. Elsewhere, researchers have proven conclusively that parent involvement in their child's education significantly boosts student achievement. Yet rich parental involvement in many urban, high-poverty areas remains elusive. This study investigated the effectiveness of a community school's strategy in influencing the motivators of parental involvement. Through a mixed-method, case-study investigation of a long-established community school in New York City, the study found inconclusive evidence that community school operations positively influenced the motivations of parents to involve themselves in their child's education. In particular, the site found a low level of parent participation, lack of efficacious mastery experiences and incidents of social persuasion, lack of a sense of collective leadership among parents and staff, and a low level of relational trust between parents and the school organization. Nevertheless, enough positive evidence was collected to suggest that community school operations remain promising strategies capable of positively influencing parents to become more involved in their children's education. The lack of significant increases in parent motivation may be due to the lack of fidelity to which the site implemented its own community school model, the difficulties of sustaining reform over several decades in an impoverished urban setting, and the priorities of the New York City Department of Education. ABSTRACT MOTIVATIONS FOR PARENT INVOLVEMENT WITHIN A COMMUNITY SCHOOL SETTING Michael-Joseph Mercanti-Anthony Joan F. Goodman iii

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Mercanti-Anthony, Michael-Joseph, "Motivations for parent involvement within a community school setting" (2012). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3530085.