A survey of elementary school teachers' perceptions and practices to promote Hispanic family involvement

Lisa Anne Marie Vacca-Rizopoulos, Fordham University


This study explored teachers' practices and perceptions about including Hispanic family involvement in their children's education at the elementary level. The review of the literature supported the significance of parental involvement in the education of their children, especially for those labeled “hard to reach.” Specifically, Epstein (1991, 1992, 1996) called for research that would strengthen and clarify the contributions of teachers' practices to involve all families in their children's education. The participants in the study were 115 elementary school teachers in New York City public schools attending a graduate-level teacher education course. The methodology employed quantitative and qualitative techniques. Quantitative analysis used Epstein's (1993) Survey of School and Family Partnerships to determine teachers' perceptions of Hispanic family involvement. Frequency distributions, means, and standard deviations were derived for each item of Epstein's survey instrument. T tests were applied to compare teacher attitudes on these 5 dimensions: grade level taught, students' reading achievement level, race, and years of teaching experience. Qualitative data yielded from focus interviews of 35 participants confirmed the findings of the survey analysis with regard to Hispanic parental involvement. Results demonstrated that teachers perceived Hispanic parent involvement to be important for students' overall academic success. Teachers believed firmly that parent involvement included helping students with homework, attending PTA meetings, and recognizing the efforts of teachers. Parent-teacher conferences were noted as the most frequent point of contact. In-school volunteers were used as volunteers in the cafeteria and for hall duty; in-class parent involvement was less frequent and less available to teachers. Teachers of lower grade students reported significantly more Hispanic parental involvement related to family contact than teachers of upper grade students. Based on these results, it was recommended that school-home communication and PTA opportunities be improved. Workshops on parenting to facilitate learning were also recommended. Last, it was suggested that a larger sample of teachers, including middle schools and high schools, be surveyed about similar issues in the future.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Curricula|Teaching|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Vacca-Rizopoulos, Lisa Anne Marie, "A survey of elementary school teachers' perceptions and practices to promote Hispanic family involvement" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3021718.