What about the parents? a focus on parent perceptions regarding parent involvement in the middle school setting
The purpose of this phenomenological bounded case study was to understand parent perceptions regarding their involvement at the middle school level. This was significant to understanding why middle schools struggle with fostering parent involvement. Three focus groups comprised of sixteen parent participants from one middle school in Missouri were utilized. As parents discussed their views and experiences a deeper understanding of parent involvement emerged. The perceptions of parents were analyzed to understand how they perceive, define, and understand their role in terms of academic and social outcomes for their adolescent child's education. They considered parent participation as a partnership with the school requiring their involvement within three major constructs: learning in the home, parenting, and volunteering. However, the transition to middle school left them wondering how to support their child and knowing what role they should take in their education. This contributed to weakened parent self-efficacy and role construction. Difficulty navigating parent social networks emerged as a significant barrier to parent participation, suggesting it as another possible construct parents perceive as critical for parent participation. Findings suggest that parents have different perceptions about their role and efficacy for involvement. However, relationships with other parents may serve to lessen the disconnect between parents and middle schools, especially as students transition during the first year of middle school.