The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

John Eller

Second Advisor

Kay Worner

Third Advisor

Roger Worner

Fourth Advisor

Janine Dahms-Walker

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Parental Involvement, Online Schools, Truancy, Communicating, Learning at Home



The purpose of this study was to determine the existence of parental involvement practices and successes or difficulties experienced with those practices–as reported by directors–in selected Minnesota online schools. The study was undertaken because, in a review of the research and related literature, it was clear that the resources and knowledge to implement quality parental involvement practices existed, but this may not have meant they were being implemented. Student achievement in Minnesota Online Schools appeared lower than traditional schools. However, no studies existed that documented the parental involvement practices that were in place or the successes and difficulties experienced with parental involvement in Minnesota’s Online Schools.

The study utilized Epstein’s (1995; Epstein et al., 2008) framework of six types of involvement to classify and examine collected data. The study was designed as a comparative case study, which examined a total of seven online school sites in Minnesota that served students in grades K-12. Data was collected through the use of case study and interview protocols, and included document collection and examination. The study was designed and conducted with a joint researcher to form a case study team.

Some of the study findings included; the prevalence of Communication and Learning at Home parental involvement types–taken from Epstein’s (1995; Epstein et al., 2008) framework, numerous newly documented practices and also common shared practices–such as required numbers of teacher-parent contacts and conferences, and reported successful involvement practices for online schools–such as in person meetings or orientation sessions, as well as reported difficulties. Notably, a major difficulty across the study’s school sites was revealed in the area of county truancy support. Recommendations for future research and current practice are made in the final chapter of the study.



I would like to thank:

My wife, Sara, and daughters, Abigail and Elizabeth, for supporting me and understanding my investment of time into this work. This journey was started for them, and it would not and could not have been finished without them.

Dr. Kay Worner and Dr. Roger Worner, for supporting, guiding, motivating, counseling, and critiquing me, and this research in every way. The completion of this study was accomplished due to their help. I will be forever grateful for their knowledge, advice and honesty in regards this study.

Dr. John Eller for his encouragement and guidance in this process, and his leadership to complete the study. Dr. Janine Dahms-Walker for her advice and knowledge in the special education aspect of this joint work.

Members of Cohort 4, to include especially Durwin Hermanson–a parental involvement expert, without whose advice and resources in the field, and his friendship I would have been lost.

My co-researcher, Bilal Dameh. His continued motivation, efforts, communication and insight propelled us to the finish line.

Thank you.


The methodology and instruments for data collection in this study were written and designed in conjunction with another researcher. Both researchers were examining components of parental involvement and online schools, and the participants to be interviewed–as well as documents to be collected for both researchers’ studies–were located at the same online schools. Thus, both researchers partnered to form a case study team to interview the participants, collect data, and code participant responses. For further information about the co-researcher’s study, please reference; Dameh, 2015.



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