Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Kathleen M. Cauley


ABSTRACT A crucial issue facing our educational system is the changing family structure, particularly the increase in the number of children being raised by their grandparents. Many of these children live in a situation that places them at risk academically. Thus, it is vital that the educational system consider identifying the special needs of these children to provide supports. This study aimed to identify support services that middle school and high school grandparents perceived they needed from school systems and school personnel to ensure the educational success of their grandchildren. I developed a survey based on concerns and issues that were cited in the literature to determine grandparent's awareness of the services provided by the public schools, the extent to which their student utilized them, and other services that the grandparents themselves needed. Participants were a convenience sample of 56 mostly African American grandparents from four high schools and five middle schools in a southern urban school district who were primarily responsible for raising their grandchildren. These grandparents contacted me to participate after receiving a recruitment flier that was sent home with each student at the participating schools. Over half of the grandchildren had received a failing grade on their report card in at least one of the core subjects the previous year. About one fourth of these children also had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The study found statistically significant differences in the awareness of middle school and high grandparents regarding whether their grandchild utilized the academic services of tutoring, pull-out classes, and study skills classes. According to the grandparents, high school students used the services less than middle school students. In addition, of the 29 students with discipline issues, more middle school than high school grandparents indicated that their grandchild “received help for behavior problems.” Both groups of grandparents requested support groups for their grandchildren to address behavior and provide assistance with school work. Middle school grandparents also requested support groups for teasing/ bullying. Both groups of grandparents requested that a Grandparent Education Council be formed, information on community resources, and training for teachers regarding the issues of both grandparents and grandchildren.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012