Understanding Latino Parental Involvement in a Racially Changing School




Gibbs, Lukisha Barrera

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Studies of parental involvement have generally not reported perceptions of Latino parents. This case study will examine the views and experiences of eight Latino families from Central and South America whose students attend Dason Elementary (pseudonym) in the Pell Public Schools (PPS) (pseudonym) in Northern Virginia. The purpose of the study is to explore the reasons why Latino parents may or may not be involved in one racially changing elementary school in PPS. The concepts of social capital, cultural capital, borders, and boundaries help explain what shapes parents' ideas, perceptions, and actions about parental involvement. These concepts present different expectations coming from school systems and Latino parents. They also explain the complex barriers that take different forms influencing what Latino parents do as it relates to their involvement in their students' schools. This qualitative method allowed for interviewing and observing eight families. The data revealed what influences their involvement in the public schools their children attend. Their responses are exemplars to investigate what Latino parents experience and how those experiences form their perceptions of parental involvement. The findings have implications for school officials, policy makers, and recommendations for further research. They suggest that parents' attitudes and perceptions are influenced by events in their lives and by decisions made by the school system.



Latino parents, Hispanic students, Parent involvement, School involvement, Latino students