La Presencia de los Padres: A Study of Parental Engagement in a South Texas Urban High School




Garcia, Tina Marie

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This study aimed to debunk the traditional definition of parental engagement by hearing the voices of Latino parents to create a counter-story of the parental involvement myth. Because of our lack of engaging families of color in more authentic ways, we have perpetuated the mindset that diverse families in low socioeconomic areas do not value education. The problem is that a societal misconception is prevalent today that Latino parents do not participate in the education of their children. To challenge the deficit thinking culture, redefining parental engagement is necessary. Parental involvement refers to school-based practices such as attending school events and volunteering that are most often seen by educators. Parental engagement are those unseen actions Latino families partake in to support the children's school and life.

In this qualitative study, three Latino parents participated in virtual pláticas for data collection. The following research question guided the research study: What are Latino parents' role perceptions, experiences, and motivating factors to parental engagement in a South Texas urban high school? Using Community Cultural Wealth (Yosso, 2005) as a framework, parents in this study support their children's learning in ""intentional and unintentional ways'' that teachers cannot see unless they will engage in purposeful conversations with individual families (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992; Williams, Tunks, Gonzalez-Carriedo, Faulkenberry, & Middlemiss, 2020, p. 491).

The parental involvement and engagement practices were found in Latino households. Latino parents are not seen or acknowledged for contributing to their child's learning in and outside school. The leading factors for student success were the key findings that emerged from the Latino participants revealing that you do not have to be at school to be engaged or have an impact on children's educational trajectories. This is why Latino family engagement practices debunk the traditional definition of parental engagement. Latino parents' cultural parenting practices can be viewed as sources of strength and promise in schools when conceptualized through agency and engagement.


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family engagement, Latino families, plática, secondary schools, traditional parental involvement, urban schools



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies