Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth C. Reilly

Second Advisor

Cheryl Grills

Third Advisor

Pontso Moorosi


The relationship between families and schools, and the importance of parents and families to a child’s academic success is well documented internationally. However, the development of frameworks, theories, policies, and programs has not resulted in an increase in parent or family engagement in public schools, nor has it remedied the historical alienation and marginalization of families of color in the United States; positive comprehensive programs in communities of color at the middle and high school levels often seem to be missing. Because of African American families’ cultural connection to countries in Africa resulting from the Atlantic Slave Trade, I used the indigenous framework Ubuntu (Metz, 2007), along with Barton et al.’s (2004) Ecologies of Parental Engagement and Epstein’s (1995) framework of Six Types of Involvement to guide this qualitative case study that examined the nature of the role of parents, families, and village members in the education of their high school students in Senegal, West Africa. Data from semi-structured interviews with parents, students, family and community members, teachers, and administrators of Dekka high school (a pseudonym), show that the people of Dekka seem to have relationships, beliefs, and ways of being that encourage parent, family, and community engagement, and empower them to advocate for resources for their high school students. The findings suggest that, ultimately, developing and fostering authentic relationships with stakeholders is important. Demonstrating that jaapal ma jaap, together everything is possible; their relationships with others, adult-adult or adult-child, are vital for not only raising but educating their children.