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Development of the Education Our Best Legacy program

Latino focus group findings

The Partnering for School Success project team conducted focus groups with Latino families and providers who service them. The findings showed that six factors are important in the Latino community:

  • Expectation

  • Structure

  • Learning

  • Support

  • Relationships

  • Modeling

[Sandra Christenson, Ph.D. identified these same factors in earlier research. For more information, see Research on the factors for school success.]

Focus group participants also identified three additional elements important for school success. Latino families also need to know how to:

  • Navigate the school system.

  • Help their children graduate from high school and seek higher education.

  • Achieve self-efficacy.

The parents in the focus groups said they preferred learning skills and information in classes. They felt that a class-like setting would offer more opportunities to interact with school staff and other parents.

The focus groups also revealed that the classes should taught in Spanish. Parents described how not knowing English was a barrier to their learning. This is especially true when there are no interpreters available. Even with translation:

  • Parents report a loss of empowerment and confidence, especially if their children are the translators.

  • Significant information may be lost in the translation.

Parents would feel more confidence and receive the most accurate information if facilitators taught the classes directly in Spanish

Latino parents also need a broader understanding of how to parent their children in the United States. Focus group parents expressed a “thirst for knowledge” on how to help their children in the U.S. educational system and culture. It’s not enough for Latino parents to learn about the connection between parenting and school success. They need an educational program that is designed and implemented in a way that helps them learn how to parent their children in a new country.

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Kathleen A. Olson, program director for partnering for school success

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