Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Aaron Schutz

Second Advisor

Rajeswari Swaminathan


Developing successful family & school relationships has long been a challenge for urban schools. This qualitative case study investigated a parent engagement program that took place at one school in a Midwestern city. This program is based on a program in Chicago featured in Soo Hong’s book A Cord of Three Stands that pairs parents with teachers in the classroom while also creating a space for parent-to-parent relationships. This research analyzes the program through the theoretical lens of social capital in an attempt to understand how strategic relationships in inorganic settings can impact the relationships between schools and families. Additionally, this research segregates the investigation into parent-to-parent relationships, bonding social capital, and parent-to-teacher relationships, bridging social capital. The research then rejoins these two theories of social capital accumulation to investigate how both impact power relations in the school setting. While there is literature that attempts to understand the bonding and bridging of social capital between families and schools, few provide empirical research or a clear vision on using these two theories in tandem in school settings.