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This paper summarizes research related to parental involvement and academic achievement in urban schools, and discusses an approach to parent participation in an urban school in Minnesota. It includes discussion of barriers, values, visionary leadership, achievement, action plans, and conclusions. Barriers to parental involvement include language, especially for limited English speaking people, mistrust of the school system, racial tension, and poverty. Research offers suggestions for ways schools can develop action plans to overcome these barriers. An example of the promotion of parent involvement is given in the study of a Minnesota urban school that serves approximately 500 students in the intermediate grades. Seventy-eight percent of the students are students of color, and 93% receive free or reduced-price lunches. One of the school's operating committees focuses on family and community involvement. In 1994 telephone interviews and informal dialogue were the methods used to generate parental involvement. Parents were invited to an open house, community meetings, a spaghetti dinner, and a November luncheon meeting and raffle. Trust, money, and time were the key factors that slowed progress and narrowed the parameters of the program, but its successes were evident in increased parent attendance at meetings and increased expressions of parent opinion. Nineteen appendixes present a model for school reform and supporting information, including parent letters and worksheets, used to promote involvement. (Contains 4 appendix figures, 8 appendix tables, and 41 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Elementary School Students, Intermediate Grades, Limited English Speaking, Low Income Groups, Outreach Programs, Parent Participation, Parent School Relationship, Parents, Poverty, Reading Achievement, Urban Schools

Autor: Edwards, Sandra L.


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