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Citation:Kessler-Sklar, S. L., & Baker, A. (2000). School district parent involvement policies and programs. The Elementary School Journal, 101(1), 101-118. EJ615438.

The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which districts reported six types of parental involvement, the ways they differed in parent involvement policies, and the kinds of programs they reported. Results indicated that districts with a greater percentage of at-risk students were more likely to report adopting parent involvement policies, and districts with greater cultural diversity (percentage of minority and non-English speakers) and needs are more likely to promote parent involvement. The greater the risk factor, the more likely the school is to report several parent involvement policies. The most frequently mentioned policies were involving parents in decisionmaking (but only a few parents serve on committees), and communicating about school programs and childrenÕs progress. Few schools offered parent training and designated staff to work with families. According to results, the most frequent ways schools support the policy of communicating with parents were sending reports home and arranging meetings with teachers. The results, however, also indicated that these programs didn't satisfy parentsÕ desires for information. Only two percent of districts reported using homework assignments as a means of communicating with parents. The researchers administered a survey consisting of 12 open-ended questions about parent involvement policies to 200 school superintendents in 15 states to investigate current district level policies, programs, and practice. The study also employed demographics from Common Core of Data. Parent involvement was categorized into six types based on EpsteinÕs model (1995), with added strategies of training teachers and reaching diverse populations. Researchers suggest that more research is needed on how district leaders can improve parent involvement policy and recommend that districts set policies to enhance parent involvement and provide parents with detailed information on how to increase student learning. The districts sampled tended to be large and diverse, and parents had above-median income.

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