Date of Award

5-17-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Yinying Wang, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

James Kahrs, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Toni Ferguson, Ed.D

Abstract

Purpose: Research has shown that family engagement has a positive impact on student academic performance; however, schools that serve increasingly diverse communities often struggle with forming meaning partnerships with their parents. The primary purpose of this case study was to investigate the impact transformational leadership has on stakeholders’ perceptions of the cultural responsiveness of family engagement, in schools that have implemented Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT). Additionally, this study investigated teachers’ and families’ perceptions of the cultural responsiveness of APTT. Research Methods: This dissertation was guided by the theoretical frameworks of transformational leadership and cultural responsive school leadership. The case study was conducted at a Title 1 elementary school with a diverse population that had implemented APTT. Data was collected through interviews of school leaders, teachers, and families as well as observations of APTT meetings. NVivo, qualitative data analysis software, was used to code and analyze the data using coding themes developed from the theoretical frameworks. Findings: The findings revealed four themes that described the leadership practices that affected the cultural responsiveness of APTT implementation: (a) leaders establish a mission that encouraged culturally responsive actions; (b) the parent center played a strong leadership role in the execution of the school’s mission, as well as APTT implementation; (c) teachers’ focused on communication with parents in a family friendly manner; (d) parental engagement efforts were designed to meet the needs of the community. The findings also revealed two themes that explained how transformational leadership practices impacted stakeholders’ perceptions of the partnerships: (a) the increase in family engagement helped inform school leaders about resources that families needed including the presence of unknown barriers to cultural engagement; and (b) more effective communication with parents resulted in the majority of teachers confirming positive perceptions of parent/teacher partnerships. Implications for Research and Practice: This study supports the need for state and local policy makers to train and build the capacity of educators to establish meaningful partnerships with students and their families. The findings also support the correlation between the theories of transformational school leadership and culturally responsive school leadership.

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