Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Effective Family Engagement for Middle Grades Transition

Webster, Jessica (2020) Effective Family Engagement for Middle Grades Transition. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (876kB) | Preview


Transition to middle school is a time filled with changes for both students and families. At a time when academic expectations increasingly demand independence and deeper thought, and the team of educators expands (National Middle School Association, 1995), uncertainty for families entering the middle grades leads to the need for a different model of family engagement. By understanding the changing developmental needs of early adolescent learners (Casey, Galvan & Sommerville, 2016; Damour, 2016; Fagell, 2019) and determining parental desires for engagement, specific actions and strategies can be adopted to integrate and invest in systems that support transition to middle grades in order to create conditions for positive and impactful family engagement.

The main aim of this action research study is to determine what families desire to know about and how they can engage and support their adolescent learners, thereby identifying strengths A survey of both parents and teachers provided insight into the perceptions of priorities and practices for successful engagement. This analysis culminates in recommendations for ongoing improvement within current family engagement practices. The need for this research is evident, as studies on early adolescent development and family engagement demonstrate gaps in programming and communication with families at the middle level. Family engagement relies on an understanding of the culture and needs of the community in which the school is situated; therefore, this study focused on the needs of an urban independent school.

However, much of the learning can be shared broadly with other educational leaders considering ongoing improvements in family engagement practices for middle grades. This study sought to provide insight for school leaders who desire to improve the transition to middle grades in a school system. This study adds to the scholarly conversation about effective engagement strategies and considerations for ongoing improvement in schools related to transition programming. The findings are consistent with the research which stresses that families of early adolescents desire developmental, social, organizational, and academic information and that this data should be personalized in order for families to feel engaged in the transition to middle grades.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Webster, Jessicajew130@pitt.edujew130
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTrovato, Charlenetrovato@pitt.edutrovato
Committee MemberSuzik, Jeffreyjsuzik@pitt.edujsuzik
Committee MemberBaronak,
Date: 2 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 July 2020
Approval Date: 2 September 2020
Submission Date: 5 August 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 132
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early Adolescence, Epstein’s Framework of Six Types of Engagement, Family engagement, Mapp’s Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, Middle School, School climate
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 15:57
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 15:57


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item