School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Sharon Michael-Chadwell


parental engagement, rural African American, hermeneutic, van Manen, phenomenology


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore and ascribe meaning to African American parents' lived experiences in the education of their middle school students in rural east-central South Carolina. Two theoretical frameworks guided this study as they related to the levels and the effect of parental self-efficacy on parental engagement: Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler's revised model of parental involvement and Bandura's self-efficacy theory. The central research question for this study was "What are the perceptions and lived experiences of rural African American middle-school parents and their involvement in parental engagement activities?" Three subsequent sub-questions on parental self-efficacy, role construction, and invitations for engagements were: (a) "How does African American parents' self-efficacy influence their decisions to become involved with the school? (b) "How do African American parents describe their parental role construction in their children's education? (c) "How do African American parents describe their response to the school's invitations to become involved?" Data on the phenomenon was collected through semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and a focus group. This study concluded that rural African American parents' perspectives on parental engagement are influenced by their parental self-efficacy, role construction, communications with and from the school, and influences on community members. The findings on the influence of the community on the parental engagement of rural African American parents and child-specific non-academic related invitations to parents are the basis for future investigation as there is a scarcity of research literature addressing this issue.