Date of Award

Summer July 2012

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Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Shane P. Martin

Second Advisor

Fr. Tom Batsis, O.Carm

Third Advisor

Frank Montejano


This qualitative study investigated parents’ and principals’ expectations of their roles in the parent-school relationship and how they defined, encouraged, and realized parental involvement within an urban Catholic high school setting. Through pattern analysis and axial coding of the data collected from parents and principal interviews, documents, and observations at parent-school meetings and events, four patterns emerged: (a) the underlying child-centered mission, (b) the parents’ role in supporting the student, (c) the parent-school relationship created to support the student, and (d) the principals’ role in creating a trusting environment that promotes parental involvement. Further analysis was guided by the parental involvement frameworks of Epstein (2001) and Barton, Drake, Perez, St. Louis, and George (2004) and the Catholic school mission. The findings revealed that the child-centered goal guided the parents’ and principals’ expectations of shared responsibilities, although the parents varied in how they defined parental involvement activities. Parents expressed the importance of the school’s role in creating a caring and respectful environment that encouraged a strong parent-school relationship. The principals addressed the Catholic school mission and how they developed the school culture, climate, and environment to support that mission.

This study author concluded that Catholic schools have the opportunity to create strong parent-school relationships that encourage differentiated parental involvement. In addition, she concluded that the role of all schools is to provide a relationship built on trust and the knowledge that parental involvement requires consideration of the varied types of involvement and ways in which parents choose to mediate the types of parental involvement.

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