Faculty News

Jeff Greene, Dana Griffin, Steve Knotek receive Phillips Memorial Fund challenge grants

Dana Griffin, “The Effects of a Parent Education Program on Parental Involvement in Their Child’s Education: An Exploratory Study”

Collaborating with parents is one strategy in helping promote academic success for children.  Parental involvement in their child’s education has been linked to higher academic achievement, better behavior, increased attendance, and a higher enrollment in postsecondary schools.  Furthermore, research has demonstrated that involving parents can foster educational resilience in at-risk students (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004).  However, barriers exist in getting parents to become more involved in their child’s education.

Minke & Anderson (2005) suggest that schools need to learn the families’ ideologies on different topics, such as parental involvement and how they perceive their role in their children’s education.  Additionally, they suggest that schools should empower families by first asking for their perceptions in identifying what they need to help promote academic success for their children as well as building on the parental strengths and competencies they have in parental decision making.

The parent education program will focus on parent strengths, their stated needs and preferences in what they need to become more involved in their child’s education to increase academic success, and will provide parents with the skills needed to combat barriers to parental involvement. Parents of at-risk middle schools students (truancy, suspensions, academic failure) will be the focus of this program.

Two main categories of parent education programs will be the foundation for study: a skills-based approach integrating aspects of evidence-based parent education programs that utilizes family support practices to improve parental involvement in student achievement, and a cognitive-developmental framework (Deliberate Psychological Education, or DPE) to promote moral reasoning with the parents involved. A DPE parent education program encourages a supportive environment for the parents, while simultaneously challenging them to be more flexible, more adaptive, take the emotional perspective of others, and find alternative solutions to problems. Both, evidenced-based programs and the DPE model have been shown to be effective when working with parents.