School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


James A. Swezey


African American Fathers, Involvement, High School, Academic Success, Sons


Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences


There is a great deal of evidence that parental involvement is positively related to how children and adolescents perform in school (Flouri & Buchanan, 2004; McLanahan, Tach, & Schneider, 2013). Few studies (Battle & Scott, 2000; Reynolds, Howard, & Jones, 2015) have specifically looked at the influence of fathers and non-biological father figures on the educational outcomes of African American adolescents. Father involvement is crucial to the academic success of African American males. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of involved African American fathers regarding the academic success of their high school age sons? For the purpose of this study, father involvement is broadly defined as engagement (interacting with the child directly), accessibility (being available for the child, but not interacting directly with the child), and responsibility (monitoring and providing for the child; Lamb, Pleck, Charnov, & Levine, 1985). Social ecological theory will be used to guide the study. Bronfenbrenner (1979) theorized that socio-cultural systems and environmental factors influence a child’s development. Data was collected primarily from African American fathers who were involved in their high school age sons’ academics through interviews, a focus group session, and document analysis. Phenomenological data analysis procedures as described by Moustakas’ (1994) seven step model were utilized. The findings suggests that through the lived experiences of 10 African American fathers three themes were developed: getting to the next level, father-son relationships, and the importance of education. The study concluded that father involvement is a crucial component in assisting African American males with becoming academic successful in urban high schools as well as life.