Cuthbertson, S. (2016). Conceptualizing Value: African American Mothers' Perspectives on School-Community Partnership, Parental Involvement, and Faith. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Over 30 years of research on parental and community engagement in schools highlight the positive impact of school-family-community partnerships on academic achievement, social and cultural enrichment, and overall school climate (Blank, Jacobson, & Melaville, 2012; Brown & Swick, 1981, Bryan, 2005; Davies, 1993; Epstein et al., 2002; Henderson & Mapp, 2002; Palanki, 1992; Sanders, 1998; Wang & Boyd, 2000). Scholars, educators, and policymakers recommend strategic development of school-community partnerships to support low-income families and communities served by urban Title I schools (Epstein & Hollifield, 1996; Henderson & Mapp, 2002). African American parental involvement, chiefly mother involvement, has been noted as a critical component to the success of predominantly African American urban Title I schools. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of African American mothers who volunteer as school-community partners at an urban Title I middle school. The study also examined the mothers’ conceptualization of the value added by a school-community partnership to an urban Title I middle school. The study was guided by three research questions: 1) What are the perceptions and experiences of African American mothers who partner as volunteers with a school-community partnership serving an urban Title I middle school? 2) How do African American mother volunteers perceive the overall contribution of a school-community partnership serving the students, families and faculty of an urban Title I middle school? 3) How do African American mother volunteers conceptualize the value of a school-community partnership serving an urban Title I middle school? The study used a qualitative case study design to explore the perceptions and experiences of six African American mothers. Themes of family and community building, othermothering, access and opportunity, promoting family stabilization, connections to faith based community, and reciprocity emerged from the data. The six emergent themes collectively reflected the mothers’ experiences and construction of value. Findings suggest that African American mother volunteers together with school-community partnerships add perceived and tangible value to urban Title I schools.