Date of Award

Spring April 2013

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Shane P. Martin

Second Advisor

Refugio Rodriguez

Third Advisor

Emilio Pack


Among ethnic groups in California Latinos continue to have the lowest high school graduation rates and the lowest college completion rates. This study focused on understanding the role parents can play and ways schools and educators can support immigrant Latino parents to improve these rates.

Framed with a funds of knowledge approach (Gonzalez, N., Moll, L., & Amanti, C., 2005), this mixed-methods qualitative and quantitative study was conducted in a public charter high school in a low income area of Los Angeles where the student body was primarily Latino. The mission of the school was to prepare students for higher education at a four-year institution.

The study results showed that it is possible for a school to engage immigrant Latino parents. With a better understanding of the aspirations, fears, and challenges faced by this community, the information can be provided in a form that is meaningful and that builds upon existing funds of knowledge. Critical components of the college outreach program were seeking parent input, developing a parent outreach plan, making information accessible, encouraging parent college visits, disseminating information beginning in middle school, providing personalized guidance, developing an undocumented student support plan, and creating a college-going culture. Implementing the the college access program encompassed gathering informal and formal feedback, presenting workshops, making documents available in Spanish as well as English, defining terms, arranging college visits, sending and displaying motivating communications, and engaging staff, students, and parents every step of the way.