Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz


This study investigated the parental perceptions of St. Mary School (a parochial K-6 school located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois) in order to assist the principal and school board in the implementation and formulation of policies which could benefit the students. The study addressed the following questions:

1. What are the perceptions of parents regarding the facilities at St. Mary School?

2. What are the perceptions of parents regarding the ways in which they are informed about St. Mary School?

3. What are the perceptions of parents regarding the extent to which they attend school related activities at St. Mary School?

4. What are the perceptions of parents regarding the educational programs at St. Mary school?

The 92 students enrolled represented 65 families. The dependent variable was the parental perceptions regarding four aspects of St. Mary School. The independent variable was student grade level in which parents had students enrolled, which was partitioned into parents of students in kindergarten through fourth grade and parents of students in fifth through sixth grade.

Parents were sent a survey via one of their children in attendance on May 23, 1997. Students were encouraged to return the surveys by May 27, 1997, with the use of candy as rewards. Fifty-eight out of the 65 surveys (89%) sent out were returned.

The survey questions were developed by the author or compiled from the Polling Attitudes of Communities on Education (PACE) Manual published by Phi Delta Kappan (1996). The questions were modified and adapted according to the needs of St. Mary School in consultation with the principal.

Parental perceptions were collected in four areas: facilities, communications, parental involvement, and educational programs. The perceptions related to all four areas were mostly positive, but each area could use improvement according to the parents.

The following recommendations were offered:

1. In the facilities area, the athletic director should gather parental input through a survey regarding improvements needed in the athletic facilities/equipment. The school board should investigate ways to finance improvements on existing technology.

2. In the communications area, the newsletter should be used to gather input from the parents in the decision-making process through the use of a comments section. Parent/Teacher conferences should be held in the fall and spring of the year instead of just the fall. The principal and athletic director should submit articles and photographs to the local media.

3. In the area of parental involvement, the survey item pertaining to attendance at the Home and School Meetings (italics added) could be increased by pairing the meetings with another activity. St. Mary School should adopt and present an open-door policy by encouraging parents to visit classrooms.

4. Within the educational programs area, extracurricular activities were seen as needing improvement by the parents. Suggestions for activities to expand the extracurricular opportunities could be requested in a comments section of the newsletter. It was also recommended that courses for advanced students should be considered by the school board.