Parental Engagement in Leadership at School: A Function of Community
This qualitative study sought to explore the impact on parental engagement with schools when parents have the leadership positions in a school. A review of the literature revealed that parental engagement is considered important by many as a means of improving student achievement. The parental engagement that takes place in most schools is something that schools actively promote through various additional programs, such as administrators visiting parents in the community, or special after school programs that parents may attend. These programs were often spearheaded by one or more individuals from the school, and they were often controlled by the school and parents were asked to opt in. Most of the studies conducted took place in publicly funded schools, but little has been done to understand parental engagement with their children’s education in private schools. Private schools in Ontario provide a unique opportunity to study the choices parents make for their children’s education, and how, once they have made that choice it affects their engagement with the children in the school. Two private Christian schools located in southern Ontario and affiliated with the Canadian Reformed Church Federation, participated in this study. One was an elementary school and the other was a high school. Nine people participated in the interviews, which were between 40 and 65 minutes each. Seven participants were parents, and two were Principals. They were asked questions about parental leadership in the school and the impact it has on parental engagement with their children’s education. Findings show that the parents involved in leadership are highly engaged with the school. They also show the importance belonging to a well-defined community when it comes to running and supporting a parent-run school.