Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lance Peterson


Social Work


The purpose of this study was to examine school social workers’ beliefs related to parent involvement in schools as well as their perceptions of the part social workers play in facilitating engagement and mediating conflicts between parents, schools, communities, and education related policies. Given the potential for school social workers to develop and strengthen family-school connections, it is critical to understand how they view their role in this process. Three questions guided this research: 1) How do school social workers assess the importance of parent involvement in school? 2) Do school social workers believe they have a role to play in parent involvement? 3) Do school social workers believe they have a role in mediating tensions that arise from conflicts between systems and stakeholders (school staff, parents, the broader community and macro-level policy)? The research design was qualitative and exploratory, incorporating elements of ethnographic data collection and grounded theory analysis. Participants responded to a series of open-ended questions intended to ellicit their views on the role of parents in their children’s formal education, barriers to parent involvement, and on how school social workers participate in parent engagement efforts. Analysis of the data revealed several salient themes. These themes included definitions of parent involvment, barriers to parent involvement and the role of school social worker in overcoming those barriers. This study adds to the research on the role of social workers in facilitating parent engagement in schools.

Included in

Social Work Commons