As the Hispanic student population continues to increase at a rapid rate, schools in the United States are tasked with closing the achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white counterparts. Federal education policy and researchers alike call for schools to increase the involvement of Hispanic parents in their children's education as one way to close the achievement gap. This study focused on the involvement activities and barriers to involvement among a group of Hispanic parents in a rural school district in the state of Idaho. This study uses a qualitative approach to gather and analyze information from parents of 20 Hispanic families through semi-structured interviews. Interview questions covered participants' own educational experiences as children, their experiences with involvement in their children's schools, and barriers they perceived to involvement in their children's education. Findings from this study suggest that these parents' involvement activities are limited, with one exception being attendance at parent-teacher conferences.An unexpected finding of this study is the limited social networks among these Hispanic parents. Parents report having few relatives or friends with whom they associate or rely on for support. A second barrier to parent involvement identified in this study is the language barrier. Parents report difficulty communicating with schools when interpreters are not made available and communication with their children's teachers are limited to notes home and at parent-teacher conferences. Other barriers to involvement include these Hispanic parents' limited education in Mexico, differences between involvement activities in Mexico and the United States, and parents' current life circumstances such as lack of transportation and working jobs that do not allow time off for involvement at the school during the school day. Overall, findings suggest that Hispanic parents in rural school settings face unique barriers to involvement in their children's education. Implications for schools are proposed such as creating opportunities for parents to interact with one another and with teachers and also making interpreters available at the school for times when Spanish-speaking parents visit the school.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type



parent involvement, Hispanic, academic achievement