Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Lucrecia Santibanez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Richard T. Rodriguez

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Maria I Morales


parent involvement, english language learners, Latinx immigrant students, immigration policy

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Educational Psychology | Elementary Education | Elementary Education and Teaching


How do perceived community and school cultural values affect Latinx immigrant parents’ decisions to engage with their children’s schools? What lessons might their experiences have for our understanding of parent involvement beyond the parameters of traditional models of parent involvement? Engaging parents as advocates for school success in the home is particularly important for English Language Learners (ELs). Tapping into the experiences of EL parents is a resource educators can use to increase parental involvement and, consequently, student academic achievement.

This qualitative case study grounded in Critical Inquiry and Cultural Historic Activity Theory examined the perceptions and experiences of 5 working-class Latino immigrant mothers whose children were enrolled in two elementary schools in southern California. Parents were purposively selected from two predominantly Latinx urban Elementary schools to participate in individual interviews and focus groups. This study addresses an urgent need to survey the current context of immigrant families and, because most research on the subject of parent involvement takes a subtractive or deficit approach that often devalues the experiences and perceptions of Latinx immigrant parents, it responds to a need for studies that approach the subject from an asset based perspective that includes the voices of the parents themselves. Examining the narratives of the parents from their own perspectives, this study provides a platform from which parent voices can be heard and creates a space where the historical and current particulars of home and community practices, histories, and activities become as relevant as those of the dominant culture(s), thus creating equitable conditions where the social justice mission of education—which is to provide quality education for all—is more likely to be fulfilled.