First Advisor

Roberto Orellana

Date of Publication

Spring 6-3-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work




Education -- Parent participation -- Case studies, Hispanic Americans, Children of immigrants -- Education



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 166 pages)


Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority group in the United States. Academically, they are significantly trailing their non-Latino peers in graduation and overall educational attainment. Among many socioeconomic factors, parent engagement has been identified as being a defining indicator of student success. Reflective of racial and class disparities, this study explored with the use of critical race and intersectionality theory, that low Latino parent engagement is a result of the historical devaluing and omission of Latino culture, history and language from formal academic settings, and compounding social factors that make engagement complex for Latino immigrants in America today.

In search of programmatic designs that better engage Latino families, this study explored a culturally specific program in San Francisco and its impact on engaging Latino immigrant parents. Using ethnographic methodologies, this study found via direct observation, a parent focus group, nine parent interviews and seven school personnel interviews that culturally specific programs can successful build relationships, create inclusive spaces, counter ideas of deficit thinking, interrupt systems of oppression, and strengthen community engagement. Implications of this study on social work education, practice, and policy will be discussed.


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