Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Roberta Espinoza

Reader 2

Erich Steinman

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© 2017 Gabriela R. Ornelas


My project explores the role of teachers at Southern California continuation high schools as it relates to serving low-income students of color in the face of the institutional barriers within alternative education. My study focuses on the teachers’ career, interactions with students, and opinions on accessibility to resources and funding. I have examined their experiences through twenty in-depth, semi-structured interviews with teachers from three districts. My findings indicate that district members’ misconceptions of Latinx students as inherently deviant and academically unengaged drive institutional issues creating financial burden for which teachers are forced to compensate. My study highlights that continuation high schools implement unjust policies, limit teaching materials and resources, reduce funding, and restrict the hiring of ancillary staff. My research pushes for more avenues of communication between the district and teachers to fulfill students’ needs through adequate funding allocation. These results extend existing literature in revealing the untold narratives of California continuation high school teachers, the structural issues within alternative education, and the needs of Latinx continuation high school students.