Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Edward Cox


Passed in 2001, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate requires schools to have a comprehensive plan for addressing parental involvement. Identifying successful practices to increase social capital and academic achievement in lower socio-economic schools appears to be the area that is having the most impact. Principals can contribute to higher success rates by generating productive partnerships between the school and parents/guardians. The purpose of this study is to describe the parental involvement strategies that four successful South Carolina (SC) middle school principals used and to identify successful practices being implemented to increase social capital and academic achievement. The researcher connected data to support how parental involvement strategies are perceived to contribute to higher student achievement by principals, teachers and parents/guardians. Another area the researcher planned to examine is whether SC middle school principals were successful because they were utilizing Epstein’s model to improve social capital of low socio-economic families. To determine how school leadership developed parental involvement strategies with social capital in four SC middle schools, the researcher investigated the strategies these schools’ principals utilized to increase parental involvement among students of low socio-economic statuses, analyzed the perceptions of their parental involvement strategies, and measured the consistency of Epstein’s model of improving social capital of low socio-economic status families.To address these questions, the researcher conducted interviews with four SC middle school principals, teachers and parents/guardians. Additionally, shadowing the principals and teachers supported the data collected from the conducted interviews. This provided the researcher with the opportunity to observe exactly how the principals interacted with parents/guardians from varying socio-economic groups and how the teachers interacted with the parents/guardians whether in person or through communication strategies. The final part of the research came from collecting actual artifacts that provided strong, fundamental support hoping other schools could replicate them in order to be successful in increasing academic achievement through parental involvement practices. These schools were successful partially because they adhered to the recommendations of Epstein’s model.


© 2014, Anthony Neil Boatwright