Family Involvement and Cultural Sensitivity: A School's Response to a Changing Demographic
Orlowski, Christine E.
While encouraging parents who are not native English speakers to support their children's learning can be challenging for schools, there are strategies schools can implement to increase involvement for all parent groups. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine parental involvement at a public elementary school with a high Latino population from perspectives of the school staff members and parents. Specifically, the aim of the study was to determine group beliefs about parent involvement and to discover if group beliefs were similar. Seven staff members were interviewed and 37 parents of Kindergarten to fourth grade students responded to surveys about parent involvement efforts and related beliefs. Results suggested that themes such as understanding families, accommodating families' needs, making opportunities available for parents, and encouraging involvement were important to staff members. Additionally, school and parents indicated similar perceptions of the school being a welcoming place and low reports of child and teacher invitations to involvement. Results are discussed in terms of implications for school practice and suggestions for further work.