Employing Museus’ (2014) Culturally Engaging Campus Environment framework, this mixed-method exploratory study sought to ascertain what prospective (proTSCC) and current transfer students from community colleges (TSCC) know about nationally competitive awards and to identify factors that influence their decision to apply. Beginning with phenomenological interviews of transfer students and alumni, their responses informed the development of an Access to Nationally Competitive Awards Scale, which was then disseminated to currently enrolled community college students who indicated intentions of transferring to a four-year institution. Transfer students from community colleges (TSCC) make up approximately 19% of enrollment at four-year institutions, yet research has shown that TSCC frequently feel unsupported and lost during and after the transfer process (Schmertz, & Carney, 2013; Tobolowsky & Cox, 2012). Nationally competitive awards (NCAs) fund a variety of opportunities, including study abroad, research, graduate school, and more (Cobane & Jennings, 2017). Currently, there is a dearth of research on NCAs, specifically in relation to access and awareness of these opportunities (Terri Heath et al., 1993). Furthermore, many NCAs require campus support, generally in the form of an institutional endorsement or nomination letter (National Association of Fellowship Advisors, n.d., Guidelines for Institutions section), which places access directly in the hands of institutions. Findings show that TSCC and proTSCC were mostly unaware of NCAs, yet they were eligible for at least one of the study exemplars and were also highly interested in learning more about these opportunities. Moreover, specific external, individual, and campus environment factors influenced their motivation to apply.
Leyda W. Garcia
Unaccompanied youth are migrant children who travel by themselves to the United States, mostly from Central America and Mexico. Since 2014, more than 200,000 unaccompanied youth have entered our country, with approximately 28,000 residing in Los Angeles, California (CBP 2018; CBP, 2019; CBP, 2020; CBP, 2021a; CBP, 2021b). Hundreds of these young migrants have enrolled in public schools (Pierce, 2016). Schools are seeking adequate and effective ways to support these students’ complex needs and aspirations. There is a significant absence of the voices of unaccompanied youth within the research process which results in limited knowledge and uninformed school policy responses. This study employed Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a theoretical framework to inform counter-narratives that accurately depict the school experiences of unaccompanied youth who find themselves at the intersection of race, gender, immigration status, migration, and class. The aim of the study was to foreground youth agency through a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) design, complimented by CRT. YPAR is built on the idea that young people have the capacity to conduct research, generate new knowledge, and create transformational social change. The questions guiding this study were: How do unaccompanied youth, in the role of youth co-researchers describe, experience, and make meaning of educación at a justice-focused high school in Los Angeles? and (b) How can the epistemology of unaccompanied youth inform practices and policies, to ensure a socially-just education, against the backdrop of an anti-immigrant climate? This study built on the epistemology of unaccompanied youth to inform and generate affirming and emancipatory educational practices. With youth as agents of knowledge creation, this study provides the field with first-hand information that can be shared in the educational community.
The relationship between families and schools, and the importance of parents and families to a child’s academic success have been studied for decades and is well documented internationally. However, the development of frameworks, theories, policies, and programs has not resulted in an increase in parent or family engagement in public schools, nor has it remedied the historical alienation and marginalization of families of color in the United States; positive comprehensive programs in communities of color at the middle and high school levels often seem to be missing. Because of African American families’ cultural connection to countries in Africa resulting from the Atlantic Slave Trade, I used the indigenous framework Ubuntu (Metz, 2007), along with Barton et al.’s Ecologies of Parental Engagement (2004), and Epstein’s framework of Six Types of Involvement (1995), to guide this qualitative case study that examined the nature of the role of parents, families, and village members in the education of their high school students in Senegal, West Africa. Data from semi-structured interviews with parents, students, family and community members, teachers, and administrators of Dekka high school (a pseudonym), show that the people of Dekka seem to have relationships, beliefs, and ways of being that encourage parent, family, and community engagement, and empower them to advocate for resources for their high school students. The findings suggest that, ultimately, developing and fostering authentic relationships with stakeholders is important. Demonstrating that jaapal ma jaap, together everything is possible, their relationships with others, adult-adult or adult-child, are vital for not only raising but educating their children.
Different Ways of Knowing and Growing: A Case Study of An Arts-Integrated Pedagogy at an Urban Elementary Charter School
There is an arts equity gap in K-12 grade education. African American and Latinx students have less opportunities for access than white students. In California, charter schools have the flexibility to implement arts based and arts integrated curriculum for the students in those demographic groups. The goal of this qualitative case study was to observe how an urban charter elementary school implements an arts integrated curriculum and to identify benefits and challenges for 4th and 5th grade students of color enrolled at the school. Aesthetic learning, arts integration, and different ways of knowing formed the conceptual framework for this study. Participants volunteered and purposively selected. They included 6 fourth and fifth grade Latinx and African American students, 1 high school senior, 8 parents, 4 grade level teachers, 3 arts specialist teachers, 1 arts administrator, and 1 principal/executive director of the school. Sources for data included semi-structured interviews, a focus group, observation of classes and observations of school events. Inductive analysis was utilized to identify themes in the data. The results indicated that the Different Ways of Knowing curriculum has evolved to a general arts integration approach. The school implements a holistic constructivist arts integrated curriculum, with teachers creating units from primary source materials. Other constructivist approaches are utilized along with arts integration. Discipline specific visual and performing arts courses need to be present along with the arts integrated curriculum. Support from all stakeholders is important and needs a common shared vision with dedication to shared values. Students evidence increased self confidence, comfort with self expression, development of imagination, increased engagement with school, and develop empathy and awareness of others. However implementation is uneven across classrooms. Additionally some students face challenges transitioning from an arts integrated elementary school to a traditional public middle school due to fundamental differences in curricular structure and conventional expectations of homework and pedagogical style. The study serves as an example for charter school leaders interested in planning an arts integrated curriculum and provides school leaders with a model program to analyze.
On Finding Cultural Humility: A Critical Narrative Case Study of School Equity and the Collaborative Process
The ever-changing cultural diversity of the student population necessitates shifts in schooling. For too long, schools have been marginalizing and unconnected spaces for students of color. This critical narrative case study will explore and begin to understand how one diverse, independent school engages in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work to create space for its member voices and experiences. This dissertation study included document analysis, narrative interviews, and a focus group to uncover an in-depth overview of the interactional dynamics of one school site through an oral history and narrative of its members. Findings highlight how the tenets of cultural humility, including critical self-reflection, mitigating power dynamics, mutually sustaining partnerships, and the role of navigating spaces play out at the school.
Across the nation, Latina/o educational leaders who serve large urban school systems face the realities of educating historically marginalized Latinx student populations, many of whom represent a diverse group of English Learners (ELs). This study is an exploratory, qualitative, multiple case study, testimonio methodology to document the experiences of seven Latina/o leaders across the nation to arrive at new understandings of their practices. The review of the literature focused on the sociopolitical history of Latina/o education, linguistic hegemony in schooling, and theories of leaders of color were used to develop cross-testimonio analysis revealed 5 themes: personal moral compass; relating to students and families; systemic inequities are revealed; bilingual/bicultural connections; and proving the right to lead. Research in Latino educational leadership is still emerging and greater importance is given to school leadership as second to teaching in making an impact on student outcomes. Additional implications include: enhance leadership preparation and professional learning programs to include understanding the impact of sociopolitical context on education leaders for Latinx and EL students; focused attention on education policies regarding teacher and leaders’ professional development to dismantle linguistic hegemony, and explore deeper understanding of the contributions by bilingual Latina/o leaders to the field of education including the creation of a Leadership Framework for Latino leaders.
Exploring School Community During the COVID-19 Emergency School Closure: Case Study of a Los Angeles County Middle School
With the COVID-19 mandated closures of thousands of schools, students who may have depended on the support, guidance, and community of schools may now be isolated from these resources while participating in emergency distance teaching. This case study explores the school community’s changes at one Los Angeles County public middle school from March 16 to May 28, 2020. This study investigated the school site community’s barriers and the possible formation of an e-school community. Semi-structured interviews of an administrator, the instructional coach, the school psychologist, eight teachers, and eight parents lead the data collection. A collection of pertinent public documents and participant researcher input followed. Results provide a snapshot of the school community before emergency mandated COVID-19 closure, participants’ recollections of the school community during the closure, and their reflections and reactions to the closures. Data analysis utilizes a conceptual framework developed to capture e-school community access and engagement. Outcomes from this study illustrate the need for additional supports for student mental health, investment in universal access to reliable internet service, and the importance of physical school outreach during times of crisis.
Building an Ignatian Ummah: The Experience of Muslim International Students at a U.S. Jesuit University
In 2020, over a million international students enrolled at universities in the United States. A significant percent come from Muslim-majority countries whose governments sponsor their education abroad. As overall international enrollments decrease, recruiting this population remains attractive to U.S. institutions. International students face the challenge of entering higher education in a foreign country and culture, navigating their education during a time of political battles over immigration and issues of diversity. Muslim students face prejudice and exclusion due to Islamophobia in the U.S. Universities have a responsibility to understand and fully support students from whom they benefit financially. This study examined the experiences of 11 Muslim international students and alumni at one American Jesuit university, exploring how being at a religiously affiliated institution influenced their university experience. A qualitive approach was utilized to understand their experiences through semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Findings confirmed that Muslim international students experience multiple challenges and demonstrated the importance of community and impact of institutional interfaith identity on supporting and shaping their experiences. The framework of Community Cultural Wealth and spiritual capital highlight the tools and strengths students engage to successfully navigate their time at the institution. Findings support the opportunities universities have to push back against Islamophobia by providing opportunities for all to engage with and learn from one another, and show Jesuit universities’ institutional interfaith identities and educational pedagogy as critical in helping students fully develop themselves and influence the good of society.
Stepping into the Light: Asian American Educators Pathways to the Principalship in K-12 Public Schools
Data shows that there is an overall dearth of Asian Americans in the role of the principalship in K-12 public schools. According to the Department of Education (2018), Asian Americans made up 5% of the national student population, but less than 2% of all K-12 public school principals identified as Asian. This mixed-methods study is designed to provide insight into why there is an underrepresentation of Asian Americans in roles of the principalship in K-12 public schools. Through the theoretical framework, Asian Critical Race Theory, the aim of this dissertation study is to a) examine the factors that may hinder or encourage Asian Americans from embarking on the journey towards the principalship and b) make recommendations and observations on how to break through the existing barriers that may inhibit Asian Americans from pursuing the role. The dissertation studied 92 principals and assistant principals in K-12 public schools and utilized a quantitative methodology with a questionnaire and a qualitative methodology with semi structured interviews, focus groups, and field notes as data sources. Findings indicate that it is still difficult to be viewed as a competent, Asian American principal. Additionally, females experienced an added layer of challenges related to their gender; and first- and second-generation participants experienced greater difficulty in navigating the system. The findings hope to be the catalyst for promoting more Asian American principals in ways that their voices may be heard. Moreover, this emancipatory research can serve as a liberating experience and contribute to the greater Asian American community, specifically our students. As we continue to make strides towards a more equitable and diverse society, we must prioritize our efforts to truly diversify our educational systems, which include understanding biases and breaking through the bamboo ceiling.
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