Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Tara L. Winter

Second Supervisor

Paul Miller


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of low-income families, including family engagement with their child’s urban school. Although urban schools attempt to implement family engagement strategies, the strategies are often found to be ineffective (Hill & Taylor, 2004; William & Sanchez, 2011). This study employed several techniques for the purpose of data collection including demographic profile questionnaires, an in-depth, semi-structured focus group interview containing six participants, and one semi-structured one-on-one interview. This study included seven participants obtained utilizing purposive sampling. The interview protocol was designed with open-ended questions aligned to attempt to explore the research questions guiding this study. This study yielded three major findings. The findings include: single mothers in urban communities hold a significant and critical understanding of their role in their child’s positive educational experience and identify several roles to support their children; despite their expressed and demonstrated willingness to be engaged in their child’s educational experience, urban families identified social factors such as single-parent households and a lack of job flexibility that impede their ability to fulfill that role; and family engagement strategies utilized by urban schools lack the flexibility of enriched learning opportunities for urban families. This study provides recommendations that may assist urban schools in enhancing their efforts to developing and implementing effective strategies for engaging families. First, conducting a family engagement needs assessment. Secondly, strengthening school and individual level cultural competence. Finally, establishing family learning communities that equip and empower families with enriched learning opportunities.

Included in

Education Commons