Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD

Second Reader

Elizabeth Truesdell, PhD


The purpose of this study was to explore the ways in which conscious family and community partnerships with middle schools can play an integral part of academic achievement for Black children. Family and community engagement play a critical role in a student’s success as support, and knowledge of their scholar’s strengths and interests can be an asset not only in the classroom, but to the scholar’s overall academic success, which can “lead to higher educational aspirations and increased student motivations'' (Bartz, et al. 2017). However, presiding narratives of disengagement and disinterest from Black parents in their scholar’s academic life have been a historic detriment to many Black students. Despite extensive research exclaiming that Black families are indeed extremely supportive of their children’s academic careers, and that Black families express interest in partnering with their scholar’s school, Black families still remain on the outskirts of their child’s education because “schools imply that students are victims of parental apathy to the goals of education” (Latunde, et al., 2016, p. 3). This study used a qualitative approach. Participants associated with one middle school in Northern California filled out a survey with open-ended questions, and in-person interviews were conducted with parents, community members, and students. All data was coded to identify emerging themes and patterns. Findings show that: 1) historic doubts lead families and the community to want more transparency from the school district, 2) families want healthier teacher–student relationships and 3) families want engaged leadership from school administration and from teachers and staff, and 4) families want an inclusive and open partnership that is focused on improving the quality of education. These findings have important implications for school-community partnerships focused on supporting the achievement of Black children.

IRB Number