Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)

Department

Education Specialties

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Abstract

Legislation outlined in ESSA (2018) pushes schools to address the needs of the diverse populations within the school community as well creating a place for equitable family engagement. This study focuses on the family rather than the parent. Due to changes in family dynamics it is necessary to incorporate not just the parent but all members of a student’s household who contribute to the academic, social, and emotional well-being. In light of the immediate halt to the educational arena as the world was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and administrators were forced to think of new ways to engage with families and students. Many families were challenged to engage due to the lack of access to technological tools especially for African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino families. This qualitative case study examined key stakeholders (families, teacher, principal) perceptions of nontraditional methods of communication as a tool for equitable family engagement. This study was conducted in an urban Catholic middle school in New York. The data was collected through in-depth interviews, focus groups and document analysis. The theoretical frameworks that informed this study were Senge’s five disciplines of a learning organization and Yosso’s community cultural wealth. In addition to viewing the school as a learning organization there is an exploration of how African American or Black and Hispanic or Latino families can utilize their cultural wealth within the school community. Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth provides a foundation for schools to utilize the cultural capital that families bring as an asset rather than a deficit. It is not enough to just acknowledging the differences in race, culture and socioeconomic status, but it is essential to incorporate the diversity in an effort to create equity in family engagement. Another factor that played a major role in connecting the world during the pandemic was technology. Technology used to exist as a supplement in education but has now become an integral part of the learning schema. Therefore, it is essential to explore alternative ways to connect families to the school community in an equitable way.

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