Principals' Role in Fostering School-Family Partnerships: Improving the Achievement of Students Living in Poverty within Rural Appalachia

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Virginia Tech


Authentic and effective family engagement requires a high commitment from the school principal. This study is a representation of the researcher's effort to better understand how principals can form strong school-family relationships in order to improve overall achievement for economically disadvantaged students living in rural communities. Interview data were examined pertaining to six elementary school principals serving Title I schools within rural Appalachia. Data were analyzed to identify strategies practicing principals and policy makers can use to better strengthen school-family relationships. The findings focus on the principals' role in fostering and improving these relationships. As an educator in a high-poverty school system in rural southwest Virginia, I want to add to the literature research-based strategies for implementing family engagement strategies in elementary schools within rural communities. This research should provide practitioners with effective strategies for reflecting on their own strategies and to build relationships with families to ultimately improve the overall achievement for students experiencing economic distress.



principal, family-school partnership, rural, poverty