EXPLORINGTHE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN PARENT INVOLVEMENT PRIORITIRES, POLICIES, PROGRAMS, AND PRACTICES
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Research connects parent involvement in education and student development, including achievement. However, less is known about how school staff determines programmatic priorities and practices about parent involvement. This study used a case study design to explore the development of parent involvement policy priorities, programs, and practices at an elementary school with a disproportionate amount of low-income students. The primary data sources are interviews conducted during the 2011-2012 school year; other data include an observation of an involvement activity and reviews of relevant documents. The data indicate that school staff implemented parent involvement structures dictated by the school district's central office, and staff supplemented those formal policies with their own unstructured activities. However, insufficient resources were dedicated to monitoring and analyzing parent involvement practices. This study describes the ways that school tradition, staff nostalgia, expectations about parent initiative, and staff's perceived lack of agency might contribute to weak parent involvement outcomes. It also questions some of the assumptions about the purpose of parent involvement policies, especially in a high-stakes accountability environment.