Decreasing the Achievement Gap through Increasing Parents’ Knowledge and Skills: A Focus on Parent Engagement

In order to ultimately decrease the Achievement Gap, this study focuses on increasing, specifically Latino parent engagement. Throughout the study I investigated parents’ institutional belief of education, their growth in knowledge and skills, participation in their scholar’s education, and their relationship with the school, teachers, and most importantly their scholars. The intervention consisted of multiple phases, the first phase being regular communication regarding incomplete homework, incomplete readings logs, tardies, and incidents of discipline with certain focus students. The second phase of the intervention was having focus parents attend a 10-session Latino Family Literacy Program concentrated on building knowledge and skills. Finally, phase three of the intervention was building relationships through visits to focus family’s homes. Data collection included pre and post surveys of both parents and teachers, parent reflections, a researcher’s journal entries, and numerical data of scholar tardies, reading log incompletes, and homework incompletes over time.

The results of the study varied between the different focus parents, teachers, and scholars. The eight parent participants gained knowledge and skills, specifically focused on English literacy and how to interact with their scholars. The quantitative data tracked the students over time—showing a growth in their homework and reading log completion as well as a decrease in tardies for some. Lastly, all parents made incredible gains in their engagement with their student’s education as measured by weekly Kickboard data and end of year NWEA MAP data. One particular parent and scholar pair shifted remarkably in all aspects of the intervention—academics, discipline, attendance, knowledge, skills, relationship and engagement, eventually shifting the Gap ever so slightly. Because of the increased engagement from parents and the relationships that were made, Kindred Academy will be continuing the intervention on a larger scale in the future.

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