The Role of the Principal in Building Latina/o Cultural Wealth in School




Abilez Ortiz, Patricia

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The purpose of this study was to identify transformative practices and leadership attributes that contribute to high achievement among Latina/o students from the perspective of principals, teachers and parents at two inner city schools. This study followed the qualitative design method. Critical Race Theory and Latino Critical Race Theory provide the framework for the analysis of findings. The primary source of data came from principal interviews and teacher and parent interview data was used to broaden and confirm findings for each of the two case studies. The qualitative data collected from the interviews were analyzed using a within-case analysis and a cross-case analysis to identify themes. The within-case analysis was utilized to identify themes within each case study and the cross-case analysis was used to identify patterns across the two case studies. In examining the case studies of two schools, there were four major themes that emerged: High Expectations (Esperanzas), a Culture of Success (Éxito), Trust (Confianza) and Empathy for the Latino Culture, (Entendimiento). The findings center around the role of the principal to transform schools and help students overcome major barriers such as standardized test scores by looking at the principal’s role in addressing learning gaps, institutional structures, student engagement, parent engagement, and teacher practices that lead to academic success. The principal is key in embracing the cultural wealth that Latina/o students bring to school and developing cultural capital that will ensure their academic success through college.


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cultural capital, cultural wealth, Hispanic students, Latina students, Latino students, principal



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies