Native American parents' involvement in two rural Arizona elementary schools

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Most educators believe that parental involvement and parental satisfaction with their children's school are key ingredients as to how each student will learn and become academically successful. Children learn best

Most educators believe that parental involvement and parental satisfaction with their children's school are key ingredients as to how each student will learn and become academically successful. Children learn best when significant adults are involved in their learning--parents, teachers, and other family and community members. The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify the factors that influence the extent of parental involvement in their children's school, to identify parental attitudes, and to identify perceptions of barriers as to parental involvement. Eight questions with subquestions compiled in a survey were responded to by 196 parents of children in two Arizona elementary schools adjacent to the Navajo Reservation having a combined total of 586 students whose ethnicities were Native American, White non-Hispanic, and Hispanic. One school had a state letter grade of A; the other a C. The survey data inquired as to demographic characteristics, how the parents were involved in their child's school, the level of communication with their child's school, satisfaction as to the school's expectations of their child, parent participation in decision-making, parents' image of the school, parents feeling welcomed in their child's school, and barriers faced as to involvement in their child's school. Parents' reasons for non-participation in school activities were in the areas of child-care, transportation, or not receiving announcements in a timely manner. Less than half of the parents responded that their child's principal responded to their concerns. However, more than half of the parents thought they were provided with excellent communication; three-fifths of parents responded that their schools held high expectations from their children. More than half of the parents felt welcomed by the front office, felt that the principal made parents feel welcomed, that their child's teacher made them feel welcomed; that the teachers responded to parents' concerns. More than half indicated that parents were provided specific strategies and necessary material for helping their child's learning. More research needs to be conducted to obtain the perceptions of Native American parents in the surrounding school districts adjacent to the Navajo Nation.