Involving low-income parents and parents of color in college readiness activities: an exploratory study.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Student counselors (Beliefs, opinions and attitudes)
Student counselors (Practice)
Student counselors (Social aspects)
College admissions (Social aspects)
Home and school (Research)
Education (Parent participation)
Education (Research)
Author: Holcomb-McCoy, Cheryl
Pub Date: 10/01/2010
Publication: Name: Professional School Counseling Publisher: American School Counselor Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 American School Counselor Association ISSN: 1096-2409
Issue: Date: Oct, 2010 Source Volume: 14 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 290 Public affairs; 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 241277786
Full Text: This article describes an exploratory and descriptive study that examined the parental involvement beliefs, attitudes, and activities of 22 high schoaol counselors who work in high-poverty and high-minority schools. More specifically, this study examined school counselors' beliefs and activities about involving parents in the college admission process. The results indicated that the participants believe that working with parents about college opportunities is a major part of their job. A majority of the participants also reported that they spend "some time" conferencing with parents about college admissions and a majority reported that they "never" organize parent volunteer activities. Implications for school counselor practice and future research are discussed.

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There is a plethora of literature and research that illustrates the positive influence family involvement has on the development of students' educational goals and success (Ceja, 2006; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandier, 1997; Jeynes, 2007; Lee & Bowen, 2006; Moles, 2000; Rich, 1985). In fact, family and/or parental involvement has been positively linked to several outcomes, including higher academic achievement, sense of well-being, school attendance, student and family perceptions of school climate, student willingness to undertake academic work, quantity of parent and student interaction, student grades, aspirations for higher education, and parent satisfaction with teachers (Greenwood & Hickman, 1991). Although all students benefit from family and/or parent involvement, low-income students and students of color (i.e., African American, Latino/Hispanic) fare significantly better in gaining admission to 4-year colleges and universities when their parents are involved in their schooling (Wadenya & Lopez, 2008). National Assessment of Educational Progress data in 2006 indicated that a 30-point scale point differential on standardized achievement tests existed between students with involved parents and those students whose parents were not involved (Dietel, 2006).

Given the emphasis on college readiness in the No Child Left Behind Act and President Obama's Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (U.S. Department of Education, 2010), the role of parents in the college readiness and preparation process has become a significant topic among educators (Rowan-Kenyon, Bell, & Perna, 2008; Venezia, Kirst, & Antonio, 2004). Access to selective 4-year colleges and universities (admitting less than 50% of all undergraduate applicants) has become a highly competitive process in which many parents use extensive and elaborate resources to ensure that their children have the opportunity to attend the most prestigious institutions. Unfortunately, parents who have not had opportunities to attend college themselves have neither experience with the process of college preparation and college-going nor sufficient access to needed information (Ceja, 2006). And, research on African American and Latino parent involvement in college preparation and planning has shown that despite high expectations for educational attainment, few parents have access to meaningful information to help them understand the college application process (Torrez, 2004).

School counselors are influential in disseminating college information, especially among low-income students and students of color (e.g., Latino/ Hispanic, African American). Some have even indicated that school counselors' biases influence the type and quantity of information given to particular groups of students (Hart & Jacobi, 1992; Terenzini, Cabrera, & Bernal, 2001). Further, research suggests that students' perceptions of school counselors' postsecondary expectations of them may influence whether they even seek the school counselor out for college information (Bryan, Holcomb-McCoy, Moore-Thomas, & Day-Vines, 2009).

Therefore, the primary purpose of this article is to describe an exploratory and descriptive study that examined high school counselor beliefs, attitudes, and practices in relation to parent involvement in the college preparation/admission process. In addition, this article includes a review of literature pertaining to parent involvement, college access, and school counseling. And last, implications for future school counseling practice and research will be delineated.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT AND COLLEGE ACCESS

Educators understand the importance of parent involvement, and as a result, the literature related to home-school partnerships is increasing in every aspect of education (Pelco, Jacobson, Ries, & Melka, 2000). Because the benefits of parental involvement are well documented, there is reason to believe that high levels of parental involvement increase the college-going rates of low-income students and students of color. Research has indicated that parental support is one of the most important indicators of students' educational aspirations. When low-income African American and Latino students are successful in gaining access to college, parental support is a critical key (Cabrera & La Nasa, 2001; Hossler, Schmit, & Vesper, 1999). And, students who are strongly encouraged by their parents to attend college are much more likely to attend 4-year institutions than are students who do not receive that support from their families (Tierney & Auerbach, 2005).

Low-income parents, in general, are reported as being less engaged in their children's education when compared to middle- and high-income parents (Moles, 2000). These reports of low parental involvement among low-income parents and parents of color call into question whether parents are truly uninvolved or if what is defined as a lack of involvement is merely a reflection of the dominant culture's (e.g., mainstream America) frame of reference. Smith (2009) purported that this may be the case and that descriptions of low parental involvement among low-income parents and parents of color are a byproduct of the way mainstream America views race, family structure (especially single-parent, female-led households), gender, and the "normative" paradigms for parent involvement in education. In other words, educators' perception that low-income parents and parents of color do not value education is faulty and is based on a definition of parental involvement that is not inclusive of issues of power and marginalization.

When discussing college access for low-income students and students of color, it is important to point out the relationship between college access and financial aid awareness among parents. Several researchers (e.g., Grodsky & Jones, 2004; Horn, Chen, & Chapman, 2003) have indicated that low-income parents and parents of color tend to overestimate the costs of attending college and are more likely to have inaccurate knowledge of actual college costs. Likewise, students and parents with more information about college are much more likely to accurately predict college costs. For instance, recent studies have found that well-informed 11th graders overestimate actual college costs by 5% whereas parents without basic college knowledge overestimate costs by up to 228% (Goldrick-Rab, 2006; Zarate & Pachon, 2006). Knowledge of financial aid for college also varies by race and ethnicity. The Sallie Mae Fund reported in 2003 that 3 out of 4 African American parents do not identify scholarships as a source of aid, compared to half of White parents. Similarly, 83% of Latino parents do not mention grants as a source of aid versus 58% of White parents.

College choice models (e.g., Chapman, 1981; Hanson & Litten, 1982) depict students' college decision-making process and emphasize factors (e.g., economics, family) that influence students' decisions about going to college. Hossler and Gallagher (1987) offered a model of college choice that includes three general stages: predisposition, search, and choice. This model is sequential and is characterized by a student's predisposition to attend college, a student's search for colleges to attend, and ultimately selecting a college/university. Research also has indicated that the college choice process is often characterized by class- and race-based differences that can include parental differences based on perceived entitlement, expectations, use of school counselors, different behaviors regarding college application processes, and differential access to resources that enhance the college choice process (Hamrick & Stage, 2004). Recent college choice studies (e.g., Perez & McDonough, 2008) also have examined parents' cultural and social capital as determinants of college access and school counselors as a source of social capital in the college application process (Bryan, Moore-Thomas, Day-Vines, & Holcomb-McCoy, in press).

COLLEGE ACCESS AND SCHOOL COUNSELING

Critical analysis of the role that high school counselors play in the dissemination of college information to parents and families in high-minority and high-poverty schools is long overdue. Low-income students are more likely to rely on school counselors to discuss financial aid than are their higher-income peers (Terenzini et al., 2001), and research has indicated that African American and Latino students are the most dependent on high school counselors for information about college (Bryan et al., 2009; Perna, 2004). Although counseling has been deemed important for increased student access to college, high school counselors also have been criticized for their gate-keeping function in many schools (Hart & Jacobi, 1992). Grubb (2001) indicated that school counselors treat low-income and minority students as academically incapable and steer them toward less rigorous academic or vocational programs. And, McDonough and Calderone (2004) found that school counselors' personal notions of affordability cause them to advise low-income students toward community college because they believe that community college is all those students can afford, even though low-income students may receive better financial aid.

Overall, the literature suggests that school counselors have an impact on the following aspects of college preparation: (a) structuring information and organizing activities that foster and support students' college aspirations and an understanding of college and its importance, (b) assisting parents in understanding their role in fostering and supporting college aspirations, (c) assisting students in academic preparation for college, (d) supporting and influencing students' decision making about college, and (e) organizationally focusing the school on its college mission (College Board, 2010; McDonough, 2004; Perna et al., 2008). Research has even indicated that improving high school counseling services has a significant impact on college admissions of low-income students, urban and rural students, as well as students of color (Gandara & Bial, 1999). More specifically, several studies have found that if school counselors begin actively supporting and preparing students and their families in middle school for college, as opposed to simply disseminating information, they would increase students' chances of enrolling in a 4-year college (Hossler et al., 1999; Plank & Jordan, 2001).

Many researchers have recommended that more school counselors are needed to improve the college advising services provided to high school students (McDonough, 2004). And, even more studies have argued that school counselors need more training and time to devote to college advising tasks (e.g., Choy, 2002). Until the 1990s, college advising was viewed as an information-dispersing task and many school counselors did not view college advising as a primary responsibility, particularly when they had small numbers of "college-bound students" (Cole, 1991).

Although school counselors are being challenged to increase college admissions of low-income students and students of color, there is no extensive literature or research on the impact of school counselors' work on college admissions. In addition, there is a paucity of literature pertaining to the three areas of school counseling, parent/family involvement, and college admissions and readiness. The primary goal of the present study was to explore school counselors' (who work in high-poverty, high-minority schools) beliefs about their role in relation to parents, the types of parent-related college preparation activities initiated by school counselors, and how much time is spent with parents about college admissions.

This study includes data from a larger study funded by the College Board that examined the beliefs, perceptions, and activities of school counselors in five U.S. high-poverty (> 30% eligible for free and reduced-price lunch) and high-minority (> 50% student-of-color enrollment) schools. The study also examined students' perceptions of their school counselors in relation to college readiness and preparation. For this study, the author utilized items from the study's College Preparation Questionnaire that pertained to parent activities, beliefs about parents, or time spent with parents. The research questions for the current study were exploratory in nature and include the following: (a) How often do high school counselors involve parents in the college preparation process? (b) What are high school counselors' beliefs about their role in assisting parents to gain "college knowledge?" (c) How much time do school counselors spend conferencing with parents about college admissions?

METHOD

Participant and School Population

The study design called for recruiting a sample of high-poverty and high-minority schools. High-poverty schools were defined as schools having more than 30% of the total student enrollment eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. High-minority schools are those schools that have an enrollment of students of color that exceeds 50%. In consultation with personnel from the College Board's National Office of School Counselor Advocacy, I developed a list of prospective school districts that might be interested in participating in the study. Special attention was given to selecting school districts representative of every geographic region of the United States. School counseling supervisors or district directors of school counseling were contacted initially and if they were interested, the research proposal was sent to the district's research department.

Four school districts in the Northeastern and Southeastern regions of the United States granted research approval to survey students and school counselors. Although permission was granted by one Southeastern school district, because of scheduling conflicts, the schools never collected data. Five schools in three districts agreed to participate (see school descriptions in Table 1). A representative sample of 10th- through 12th-grade students at each of the participating schools was surveyed. Figure 1 includes the educational background of parents at the participating schools (according to students' responses). All of the participating schools reported that less than 40% of their parent population completed or attended college. The University of Maryland at College Park's Institutional Review Board fully approved this study.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

For this article, the focus is on the 22 school counselors' responses to parent-related items during the first year of the project. A majority of the school counselors were female (n = 19) and had been a high school counselor for 1-5 years (n = 12). Nine of the school counselors had been a high school counselor for 6-15 years and one counselor had been a high school counselor for 16-25 years. Regarding their ethnicity, 9 of the school counselors self-identified as African American/Black, 10 identified as White/ European American, 2 identified as Latino/Hispanic American, and 1 identified as "other." And, from an age perspective, 10 of the counselors were 51-60 years of age, 8 were 32-50 years of age, and 4 were 21-31 years of age.

Instrumentation

The instrument used for this study included the College Preparation Questionnaire (counselor version). The instrument was developed in consultation with the leadership of the National Office of School Counselor Advocacy. The College Counseling Sourcebook, published by the College Board (2010), was used as a guide for the instrument's development. The questionnaire consisted of 120 Likert scale and dichotomous items to assess the beliefs, attitudes, and activities of school counselors in the context of college preparation. The questionnaire included items such as, "Do you (the school counselor) organize parent volunteer activities?" "Do you send parents calendars of college-planning activities?" and "I believe working with parents about college opportunities for their students is a major part of my job." For this study, only the parent-related items will be examined in order to answer the research questions.

Procedures

Consent forms were distributed to participants (i.e., school counselors) at each participating school. Each participating school was asked to complete a Quality Control Worksheet when submitting the data. These worksheets documented the number of students enrolled in school during the week of survey, the number of student answer sheets completed in scheduled administration, the number of student answer sheets completed in makeup administrations, and the total number of student and school counselor surveys returned. Each participating school was given copies of the Survey Coordinator's Manual. The manual was used to ensure administration consistency from school to school. The College Preparation Questionnaire was distributed electronically to 26 school counselors, and 22 completed all of the items (84% return rate).

RESULTS

How Often Do High School Counselors Involve Parents in College Preparation Activities?

School counselors were asked to rate how often they engaged in parent-related college preparation activities (see Table 2). They were asked to check whether they conduct the activity once a year, more than once a year, or never. Organizing parent volunteer activities was conducted least often by school counselors whereas sending parents calendars of college-planning activities, test dates, and registration deadlines was conducted more frequently by school counselors.

What Beliefs Do School Counselors Have About Their Role in Involving Parents in College Preparation Activities?

The beliefs of school counselors were calculated using distribution frequencies. School counselors were asked to respond to the items about beliefs based on a 4-point Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = agree, and 4 = strongly agree. Overall, the school counselors in this study believe that school counselors should assist parents with finding scholarships and with the college admissions process (via workshops). Also, it appears that school counselors believe that a major part of their job is to work with parents regarding students' college preparation. See Tables 3 and 4 for results.

Two items on the questionnaire addressed school counselors' beliefs about working with community groups and about their overall responsibility to work with parents about college opportunities (Table 4). Overall, the participants reported that they believe it is their role to work with community groups (M = 2.9; SD = .57). And likewise, the participants, in general, agreed that working with parents about college opportunities is a major part of their job (M = 3.0; SD = .78).

How Much Time Do School Counselors Spend Conferencing with Parents About College Admissions?

When asked how much time they spend conferencing with parents about college admissions, a majority of the school counselors (55%; n = 12) responded that they spend "some time," 18% (n = 4) reported that they spend "very little time," 18% (n = 4) reported spending "a lot of time," and 9% (n = 2) reported that they do not conference at all with parents about college admissions.

DISCUSSION

This study is unique from many other parent involvement and college preparation studies because it focuses on the practice of school counselors in relation to their work with parents to increase college readiness. Additionally, this study is unique in that the sample (albeit small) consisted of school counselors who work in high-poverty and high-minority schools. Although exploratory in nature, this study fills a gap in the existing research by focusing on the combination of three key areas--school counseling, parent involvement, and college preparation. Because educators often view low-income families and families of color in terms of their deficiencies (Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Smith, 2009), examining the beliefs and attitudes of school counselors who work in high-poverty and high-minority schools is critical research, which may help to uncover beliefs that serve to hinder students' academic success and college access.

This study's results are promising, but there are still unanswered questions and concerns. Overall, the participants reported favorable beliefs about working with parents and communities within the context of college preparation. In addition, they reported that they are initiating parent-related activities that are intended to increase college knowledge (e.g., holding meetings for parents of juniors, sending parents calendars of college-planning activities). Although a majority of the school counselors reported that they spend "some time" conferencing with parents about college admissions, one might have expected that all of the participating school counselors would spend "a lot of time" conferencing with parents about college opportunities and the admissions process.

There were also some parent activities that a majority of the school counselors reported that they do not engage in on a yearly basis (e.g., organizing parent volunteers, sending parents calendars of test dates). Because this study was exploratory and descriptive in nature, there is no way to determine whether or not these activities have had an influence on "college admissions" and there is no information on the overall efficacy of these activities. Given that school counselors are critical resources for students whose parents did not attend college, one would have expected all of the participants to be engaged in parent activities more than once a year.

The lack of organizing parent volunteer activities is an area to be further examined and discussed in the school counseling literature. The use of parent volunteers in school counseling programs has been rarely discussed in the recent literature. In one article written over 30 years ago, Bradley (1979) suggested that the use of parent volunteers in career and college guidance offices was a means to improve the department's image in the community and to increase parents' knowledge of careers and college opportunities for their children. Although school-family-community partnerships are highly encouraged in today's schools, the use and coordination of parent volunteers by school counselors is rarely discussed. As such, it is possible that this study's participants may be unaware of the utility of parent volunteers in providing college preparation activities for parents and students, such as parent workshops on the college process. Or, they may not perceive organizing parent volunteers as one of their functions. Perhaps organizing parent volunteers is a responsibility of another school staff member.

Ultimately, school counselors must be knowledgeable of parent involvement practices and trends in their schools in order to create successful school-family-community partnerships. Smith (2008) suggested that educators should first consider why low-income parents and parents of color are not more involved in their children's education. He argued that educators using an "assimilationist framework" use the lens of "normative" Anglo-American culture as a basis for comparison. A school counselor practicing from an assimiliationist perspective embraces the notion that to be truly American, a group must conform to mainstream morals, ethics, values, attitudes, and philosophies about the goals and purposes of life. Thus, when working with parents of culturally dissimilar backgrounds, an assimilationist school counselor would likely perceive parents to be "abnormal" if they seem disinterested in or unsupportive of their children's college plans. Or, better yet, many school counselors with an assimilationist perspective believe that low-income parents and parents of color don't value a college education. Therefore, their college preparation activities tend to be designed to "normalize" these parents and mold them into mainstream parental practice (Hornby, 2000). These counseling programs tend to label low-income parents and parents of color as "deficient" and marginalize the parents they are attempting to help.

Smith (2008) suggested that a critical framework should be utilized when working with low-income parents and parents of color. Critical theorists (e.g., Delgado-Gaitan, 1991) have rejected frames of reference that employ cultural deficit models and instead recognize parents of color and low-income parents' power status within mainstream K-12 institutions. School counselors whose work is based on this critical theorist perspective address marginality, culture, and power relationships and ultimately believe that low-income parents and parents of color value education and support their children's education.

Also, the findings of this study do not indicate what type of "college knowledge" information school counselors share with parents and there was no indication of the parental needs in the communities represented in this study. College knowledge is "critical capital" and serves to connect low-income parents and parents of color to the "college choice" process. College knowledge includes valuable information about what is needed to prepare for and choose a college, how to make use of the college experience, the long-term value of a college degree, and how the experience will be financed (Vargas, 2004). An important aspect of college knowledge is recognition of the specific financial value of a college degree relative to other postsecondary options. High-income students and students whose parents are college educated are very familiar with the value of a college degree and are often expected to attend college. For school counselors, it is imperative, then, that they assess parents' needs and, more importantly, that they value all parents and actively include all parents in the college admissions process.

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

Although the findings in this study help broaden the scope of research to include school counseling, parent/family involvement, and college preparation, several limitations to the research exist. First, this study's sample size of school counselors was very small. Future studies should be designed with much larger samples of school counselors and/or school counseling departments so that trends and patterns of school counselor-initiated parent activities in high schools can be examined. These studies would provide a baseline of information regarding the current school counseling practices related to parent/family involvement and college preparation and readiness. Second, this study is limited by its self-report design. Perhaps the school counselors' responses were based on what they believe they should say or do (i.e., social desirability) rather than their actual beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Third, this study's focus was on individual school counselors with little attention given to school factors (e.g., administration, family outreach policies, school resources) that can shape the activities of a counseling department and staff. And finally, the instrument used in this study was designed specifically for another study that did not focus primarily on parent involvement and college preparation. Future studies should use specific instrumentation that is designed to assess school counselors' practices and services with parents during the college preparation process.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE SCHOOL COUNSELOR PRACTICE AND RESEARCH

Parental college knowledge is beneficial and critically important to the future postsecondary success of low-income students and students of color who will likely be first-generation college students. This exploratory study highlighted school counselors' activities and beliefs related to college preparation in high-poverty and high-minority schools. Overall, the school counselors reported favorable views about their role in helping parents with the college admission process, and a majority of them reported facilitating some activities designed specifically for parents. Nevertheless, the majority of school counselors reported that they did not organize parent volunteers or send test-dates calendars home. Given that the schools represented in this study have large numbers of students whose parents never attended college, knowledge of college options, financial aid, and application-related topics is greatly needed. Research tells us that parents, especially those who have not gone to college, are in great need of this sort of information (Zarate & Pachon, 2006). School counselors need to bring parents into the educational experience of their children as much as possible and as soon as possible. Although this sounds easy, partnering with or involving parents does not always exist, particularly in high-minority and high-poverty schools.

The literature has cited many reasons for the lack of parental involvement in urban schools, which include language barriers, a cultural disconnection between schools and communities, a lack of welcoming environment, and the lack of opportunities to become involved. All high school counseling departments and programs should strive to build a personal and cultural connection between the school and parents and, more importantly, to put parents at ease in the school environment. Including speakers and representatives of the community in workshops and informational sessions would be beneficial (Fann, Jarsky, & McDonough, 2009).

Another implication for school counselor practice is the inclusion of more innovative ways to disseminate financial aid and college information to parents. The use of the Internet, for instance, is an increasingly important source of financial aid and postsecondary information for parents and students. Tornatzky, Cutler, and Lee (2002) found that Latino parents used the Internet and printed materials most often for gathering financial aid information, and they rated college nights, visits, and outreach by school counselors as most helpful. Parent-to-parent advising or counseling may be another means of disseminating information to parents. School counselors may want to train parent volunteers about the college admission process and then have the volunteers conduct workshops and information sessions in the community for other parents.

Ultimately, the key element to building successful parent-school relationships is the welcoming and inviting climate of a school. Parents must feel "welcomed" and "wanted" in order for them (particularly low-income parents and parents of color) to be involved (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997). High school counselors must present opportunities for parental involvement and design programs that involve school personnel, parents, and university personnel. This sort of collaboration allows for multiple perspectives and to bridge communities (Fann et al., 2009). The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC, 1999) encourages school counselors to provide parents with a welcoming environment in which the following information can be attained: high school courses required for college admissions, college costs, college admission requirements, tests required for college admissions, and the decision-making process that leads to postsecondary options. NACAC also encourages school counselors to help parents investigate the types of programs of study offered in high schools, review course schedules, and participate in course selection. Middle school parents, according to NACAC, should be given lists of middle school courses and information about how they connect with high school courses.

Future research is needed that examines parent-school counselor relationships in the context of college preparation and readiness. For instance, future studies that examine the process by which school counselors and counseling departments disseminate information to parents as well as identifying aspects of positive parent-school counselor relationships in challenging schools arc warranted. Studies about key aspects of the school counselor-parent relationship can assist in our understanding of how to develop meaningful and productive partnerships with parents and communities in order to increase the college readiness of students. In addition, future studies should examine entire high school counseling departments' practices and trends so that there is a clear idea of what departmental structures and formats work to get parents and families involved in the college admissions and college choice processes. Qualitative studies also are needed that investigate the needs of low-income parents and parents of color in relation to college readiness. And finally, future research is needed that examines the influence of school counselors' beliefs about their school communities and their actions and behaviors in the school setting (e.g., scheduling for rigorous courses, developing parent workshops). Linking school counselor beliefs with school counselor actions would uncover areas for school counselor professional development and self-awareness.

CONCLUSION

The lack of access and educational inequities have plagued the postsecondary trajectories of low-income students and students of color for many decades (Solorzano & Ornelas, 2004). Educators and advocacy groups are challenged to find solutions for improving access to college and school counselors are being critiqued based on their ability and outcomes related to college readiness. This study will hopefully ignite interest among school counseling researchers to bridge the literature and research of three key areas: school counseling, college readiness, and parental involvement. The importance of developing partnerships between parents/families and school counselors is key to increasing the number of students who are college ready, particularly in high-poverty and high-minority schools. School counselors and parents, working together, are the keys to college planning for all students.

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Table 1. Description of Participating Schools

                      School A  School B  School C  School D  School E

Total enrollment        1,937     1,276     1,655     1,743     1,640

Racial composition

  African American      1,752       348     1,383       510       552
  Hispanic/Latino          37        57       199       837       840
  White                    64       835        31       292       192
  Asian                    81        34        37        56        15
  American Indian           3         2         5         2         1

Number of school            5         4         5         7         5
counselors

Magnet school            Yes       Yes        No        No        No
(yes or no)

Percentage of             40%       38%       41%       66%       69%
students eligible
for free or
reduced-price lunch

Table 2. Frequencies of Parent-Related College Preparation
Activities Initiated by  School Counselors

                             Never Do This   Once a Year    More Than
                                                           Once a Year

Organize parent volunteer      18 (82%)        2 (9%)        2 (9%)
activities

Send parents calendar of        8 (36%)        5 (23%)       9 (41%)
college-planning
activities

Send parents test dates         7 (32%)        6 (27%)       9 (41%)
and registration deadlines

Send parents a senior           6 (27%)       11 (50%)       5 (23%)
college-planning schedule

Set up parent conferences       4 (18%)        7 (32%)      10 (45%)
regarding college
preparation

Set up and hold a meeting       2 (9%)        15 (68%)       5 (23%)
for parents of juniors
(covering college
application process,
testing, financial aid,
etc.)

Table 3. Means of Items Related to School Counselors' Beliefs
About Their Role of Involving Parents in College Readiness Activities

I believe school counselors should ...             M       SD     N

Help parents locate college scholarships           3.4     .60    20
Develop college admissions workshops for parents   3.5     .61    20

Note. The scale is as follows: 4 = strongly agree, 3 = agree, 2 =
disagree, 1 = strongly disagree.

Table 4. Means and Frequencies of Items Related to School
Counselors' Beliefs About  Communities and Parents

                                                Strongly
                             M      SD     N      Agree     Agree

It is my role to work       2.9     .57   21        3        15
with community groups.

Working with                3.0     .78   21        4        13
parents about college
opportunities for their
children is a major part
of my job.

                                        Strongly
                            Disagree    Disagree

It is my role to work           3           0
with community groups.

Working with                    3           1
parents about college
opportunities for their
children is a major part
of my job.

Note. The scale is as follows: 4 = strongly agree, 3 = agree, 2 =
disagree, I = strongly disagree.
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