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2014 Dissertations


2014 Dissertations


California Community College Chicana/Latina Trustee Trailblazers: In Their Own Words

Angela Acosta-Salazar

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Pérez Huber, Lindsay

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study is to shed light on the personal, educational, professional, and trusteeship journey of five Chicana/Latina trustees. This study focuses on Chicana/Latina “Trailblazers” the first Chicana/Latinas to be elected to their district. This study is set in the Chicana Feminist Epistemology and applies the theoretical framework, Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) as the lens in which to examine the participant’s experiences and the intersectionality of race, class, and gender.  Through the use of a LatCrit lens, this study exposes what Yosso (2006) calls community cultural wealth.  By exposing the community cultural wealth that these women brought to their educational, professional, and leadership positions, it can be seen how they have successfully navigated their community college trusteeship, transforming the educational setting in the districts they serve.  The method of testimonio was employed to capture and tell the stories of these Chicana/Latina trustees, giving voice to a group of individuals who have historically been marginalized.  This method centers the participants who narrate their own experiences often revealing exploitive and oppressive elements while validating their own experiential knowledge and allowing these narratives to show how personal experiences contain larger political meaning.

The findings reveal that these participants, as a collective, felt the pain of race, class and gendered experiences in the educational setting.  These experiences shaped their worldview.  Nonetheless the women developed aspirations to become educators and this aspirational capital led them to college where they were able to move beyond internalized oppression by developing a social consciousness and a Chicana identity.  These experiences led them to social activism, which became the path to community college trusteeship.  They became the first Chicana/Latina community college trustees in their district, moving from historical exclusion to a seat at the dais and it is there that these trailblazers created a legacy of inclusion and transformed the educational setting.


Herencia y Legado:  Validating the Linguistic Strengths of English Language Learners via the LAUSD Seal of Biliteracy Awards Program

Alma Castro

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

A deficit orientation of English Language Learner (ELL) Latino students permeates the climate at many schools across the state of California.  School efforts for addressing the academic needs of ELL students emphasize disadvantages and primarily focus on language remediation approaches.  In turn, ELL students are submerged into a substandard curriculum that fails to capitalize on, and denies students access to, their cultural and linguistic strengths.  In the Los Angeles schools, “only 27% of EL students who began the ninth grade graduated 4 years later” (Gandara & Hopkins, 2010).  Latino ELL students are significantly academically challenged and struggle to meet high school graduation requirements; these students by default are not prepared for college.  Reversing the desolate academic trajectories of Latino ELL students by validating and promoting their strengths, as a foundation for learning was the impetus for this study.

This study documents student and staff perceptions of the implementation of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Seal of Biliteracy Awards Program at one high school with a predominantly Latino student population.  Guided by a conceptual framework utilizing the concepts of empowerment of minority students (Cummins, 1986), community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005), funds of knowledge (Moll, 1992), and subtractive schooling (Valenzuela, 1999), this qualitative case study examined the narratives of Latino ELL students and staff participants to gain an understanding of their perceptions about college access, the process of implementing the program, and the purpose, value, and impact of the program on student achievement.  The study included focus group interviews with 26 high school student participants, primarily female and mostly in the 12th grade, and individual interviews with six staff participants in various capacities with an educational experience ranging from five to 25 years.

The findings indicate that the LAUSD Seal of Biliteracy Awards Program is active at the research site and is producing positive student social and academic impacts.  School level impacts include an improved academic school climate and increased parent presence at school functions.  In order to shift practice towards an “assets” schooling orientation, recommendations of this study call for a policy to scale-up by converting a voluntary-program into a mandatory program.  Recommendations of this study urge educators to change current practices to ethically address the issue of evaluation of transcripts from foreign countries and to work with teachers in building capacity on additive schooling approaches.


Linked Learning and African-American Student Engagement: A Case Study

Felicia Anderson

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

This qualitative case study examined the engagement experiences of African-American students in the COMPASS and PEACE Linked Learning certified pathways at Millikan High School in the Long Beach Unified School District.  The study explores institutional controlled factors of the Linked Learning Pathways model that demonstrate positive influences over the African-American achievement gap.  Institutional controlled factors that positively influence equitable practices and access in concert with engaged student controlled factors could potentially reduce the dropout rate.  The long term benefits of Linked Learning could improve the quality of the workforce, as well as reduce poverty, crime, and incarceration rates. 

This case study consisted of 18 interviews, 10 African-American students in COMPASS and PEACE and 8 adult staff that had direct involvement with the students.  The participants’ voices illuminated five themes.  First, having a robust desire to realize the dream in a certified pathway operationalized students’ efforts.  Second, quality curriculum and instruction fueled by strong philosophical belief is an institutional controlled factor that positively affects African-American students’ level of engagement specific to ethics, personal growth, and academic satisfaction.  Third, critical race pedagogy is an instructional tool used by teachers who genuinely have passion for teaching disenfranchised students.  Fourth, social justice; students engage in dialogue and activities around global and local issues that inspire them to act.  Fifth, students’ access and equity influences whether or not students feel welcomed and empowered to take the initiative to seek assistance.  Together these five themes weaved a picture of a supportive environment that promotes greater student satisfaction and enhances engagement.

The study is directly related to the state’s high school reform efforts to improve the quality of the workforce and economic development.  The measures of quality within a Linked Learning certified pathway were integral to this study and could significantly inform reform efforts and support strides toward closing the achievement gap.  The program proposes to support all students and Millikan demonstrated results with African-American students that deemed worthy of examination.  This inquiry investigated Linked Learning Pathways’ support of African-American students, their perceptions, and lived experiences using the SELL conceptual framework.  The SELL was informed by Appleton, Christenson, & Furlong, (2008) Student Engagement with School: Critical Conceptual and Methodological Issues of the Construct, Tinto (1975) Dropout from Higher Education: A Theoretical Synthesis of Recent Research and Tinto and Pusser, (2006) Moving from Theory to Action: Building a Model of Institutional Action for Student Success. 


“It’s Been A Long Journey”:  Exploring Educationally Mobile Students’ Transition Into Stem Majors At A University

Aimee Arreygue

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

Today, one third of all college students are considered educationally “mobile”, which means they will change institutions during their undergraduate careers.  The concept of educational mobility challenges the traditional idea of students moving through an educational pipeline in a linear fashion, and recognizes that many of today’s students, including those in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), will have multiple transition points.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the transitional experiences of educationally mobile students moving into and through the STEM disciplines at a public university.  Students who move from one educational environment to another undergo a significant transition process, and understanding this process for individual students and the institution’s role in supporting transition has implications for educational policy.  Grounded in the conceptual framework guided by Schlossberg’s (1984) Transition Theory, and Swail, Redd, and Perna’s (2003) Geometric Model for Student Persistence and Achievement, this study explores the following research question:  How do students who are educationally mobile experience academic, social, and institutional support while transitioning into and through STEM disciplines at a four-year public university?

Eighteen science and mathematics majors participated in this study, all of whom attended at least one institution of higher education prior to their current attendance at Mountain View University, a four-year comprehensive Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in Southern California.  Participants were interviewed utilizing a semi-structured interview protocol and completed a demographic questionnaire as well.  Trustworthiness measures included member checking and peer debriefing.

The findings of this study show that educationally mobile students are savvy agents of their education, and make personal and professional sacrifices in their pursuit of a STEM degree.  They want to connect to like-minded individuals on campus, and make efforts to seek help.  Findings also show that institutional agents play an important role in helping educationally mobile students navigate institutional obstacles in the transition process.  Recommendations include increased dialogue about articulation and the transfer processes among institutions, engaging in more consistent advising practices (both at the community college and the university), enabling purposeful social interactions during the transition process, and researching disaggregated populations of educationally mobile students.


A Zero Sum Game? Eliminating Course Repetition And Its Effects On Arts Education

Joyce Carrigan

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

As is often the case in the public educational system, challenging economic times beckon changes to existing practices.  In 2011, with ongoing concerns over state budget shortfalls and the increasing educational cost structure, California state legislators focused their attention on measures that could lead to access, added productivity, and value in order to sustain the current educational system.  One of the recommendations provided by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) was to eliminate state support for course repetition in activity classes.  In 2012, the Board of Governors (BOG) adopted the changes to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations to limit the apportionment a community college district could collect for student attendance in credit courses that are related in content.  This limitation on apportionment was intended to specifically limit student enrollment in active participatory courses such as those in the visual and performing arts (CCCCO, 2013). 

This qualitative interview study used the Discipline-based Art Education framework to bring forth the experiences of thirteen community college visual and performing arts (VAPA) instructors.  The purpose of the study was to understand how VAPA instructors experienced the elimination of course repetition, how they reconciled the requirements of their discipline with the state educational policy, and how these changes influence the teaching and promotion of access to arts learning.  The premise of this study was that the unique character and the needs of the VAPA discipline may not align well with the intended objectives of the state regulatory policy.   

Findings showed little uniformity and commonality in the approach participants took to reconcile the pedagogical practices of their discipline with the state-initiated curricular changes. 

The findings also indicated that VAPA instructors had very different perceptions of their students’ developmental levels.  Consequently, their approach at making changes to their curricula varied significantly.

Furthermore, all VAPA instructors in the study felt strongly that skill-building was inherent to the process of arts learning and making.  Skill-building increased employment options as well as the opportunity to transfer to four-year programs.  To this end, a large number of participants in this study expressed grave concerns about the future of their programs.  With the loss of arts courses due to recent budget cuts coupled with the loss of course repetition, VAPA instructors argued that students would find the pursuit of arts studies to be cursory and insignificant, and many would likely choose to simply give up.

The community colleges are comprehensive institutions that provide a wide range of academic and occupational training preparations.  If the mission of the community colleges is to remain so explicitly open to its community, then it is the responsibility of policy makers to ensure that all students have access to such wide set of educational and occupational opportunities.  This is a critical time to bring to the forefront discussions on the place arts education has in the community colleges.


The Role Of Counselor In A Linked Learning Environment

Roberta Clarke

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

High school counselors today have many roles.  Through these roles, counselors strengthen student experience.  Most of the scholarly literature concerning counselor's roles overlooks the voice of high school counselors serving in a Linked Learning environment.  As a result, counselor's voices are missing in conversations about their roles in a Linked Learning environment.  Linked Learning is a high school reform initiative that seeks to successfully prepare students for postsecondary education and careers by engaging students in linking strong academics with demanding technical learning, and thereby strengthening their real-world experience in a wide range of fields.  The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to investigate high school counselor¹s perceptions of their roles in a Linked Learning environment.

This study contributes to a small body of literature regarding counselors and Linked Learning environments.  A conceptual framework was developed utilizing components of the American School Counselors Association (ASCA, 2005) themes and delivery systems, as well as the Transforming School Counseling Initiative (EdTrust, 2009) skills, and Community Counseling Theory (Lewis et al, 2003) to serve as a valuable lens to review the research.  This interview study found that counselors in a Linked Learning environment hold and collectively maintain a culture of high expectations and support for all students by serving as advocates, utilizing school guidance curriculum, and providing direct school services.  Secondly, that counselors work with their pathway community to identify and intervene for students who are in need of additional support by serving as collaborators, providing responsive services, and  indirect student services.  Thirdly, counselors get to know their student¹s needs, and are familiar with the unique characteristics of their pathway program by serving as systems change agents, providing system support, and indirect school services.  Lastly, counselors guide decisions about postsecondary education, training, and career pursuits by serving in the role of leader, guiding students through individual student planning, and providing direct student services. Implications of the study and recommendations for policy and practice are offered within the discussion.


The Sunshine State: Shedding Light on the Improvement Plans of California's TK-12 Districts to Reduce the Disproportionate Identification of Emotional Disturbance

Dorothy Cotton

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Hansuvadha, Nat

Abstract

The phenomenon of the disproportionate representation of students of color in special education programs has been a concern amongst educational scholars over the last four decades; especially in the category of emotional disturbance (Donovan & Cross, 2002).  Qualitative research that explores actual districts as well as the programs they implement is needed to assist practitioners within the nation’s TK-12 districts.  The purpose of this study was to investigate what policies and procedures districts have revised or implemented to reduce referrals for special education placement, as well as compare state required improvement plan documents across participating districts.  This study focused on California TK-12 districts that have been identified as significantly disproportionate in one or more disability categories by the California Department of Education.  In-depth interviews of directors of special education were used as the research design approach to gain an understanding of the root causes of disproportionality as well as explore policies and procedures to reduce inequitable referrals.  The findings were analyzed through the researcher-created conceptual framework of factors that reduce disproportionality.  These factors include: access to effective instruction, sufficient resources, culturally responsive schools, equitable referral procedures, proper use of tests, and trained teachers.

Clear themes emerged around the conceptual framework.  The findings revealed that inequitable referral and assessment procedures, cultural incompetency, inconsistent pre-referral interventions, and a lack of accountability were contributing factors that led to disproportionality for the participating districts.  The study also revealed that ongoing and frequent professional development and inter-district collection of referral, suspension, and intervention data has a positive effect on monitoring disproportionality.  Recommendations for policy-makers and practitioners aimed at developing culturally responsive practices that provide support for students of color prior to referrals for special education assessment.


The Other Side Of The Open Door:  Community College Students On Academic Probation

Cherie Dickey

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

Students who find themselves on academic probation first entered the door to community college with the hope of attaining a degree or skills for a better life.  The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of intrusive academic advising services to assist in the retention of community college students on academic probation (n = 1,336) at one community college.  An embedded quasi-experimental design was used to test an intrusive academic advising intervention that predicted that participation would increase student retention.  Qualitative data, collected through open-ended, pre/post survey questions allowed students to share their perceptions and attitudes of the intrusive academic probation advising intervention.  The findings revealed that academic probation students struggled with procrastination, time management, and study skills, and they did not have sufficient knowledge about campus resources to access them.  The findings also indicated that the students who participated in the workshop (n = 125) were 8.6 times more likely to be retained than those who did not participate (n = 1,211).  Based on the results, recommendations are made for college policy changes, practices, and further studies of this population.


Vocational Identity and Well-Being Among Diverse, Upper-Division Health Science Undergraduate Students in the United States

Ayla Donlin

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Haviland, Don

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine, from a constructivist career development perspective, the factors of well-being and vocational identity that emerged among a diverse sample of upper-division undergraduate students.  This study also examined which factors of vocational identity predicted well-being and which factors of well-being predicted vocational identity.  Participants included 411 diverse, upper-division health science students from a public university in Southern California.  The first two research questions that guided this study were designed to explore emergent factors of well-being and vocational identity using items from the PERMA Well-Being Profiler (PERMA) and the Vocational Identity Status Assessment (VISA; Porfeli, Lee, Vondracek, & Weigold, 2011).  The final two research questions were designed to examine the best predictors of well-being among the factors of vocational identity and the best predictors of vocational identity among the factors of well-being.  To address the research questions, data obtained from surveys was analyzed using exploratory factor analysis and multiple linear regression analysis.

The findings of this study demonstrated that PERMA theory (Seligman, 2011) and Vocational Identity Status theory (VIS; Porfeli et al., 2011) explained the constructs of well-being and vocational identity among the diverse sample with few exceptions.  Further, the PERMA and VISA instruments proved valid and reliable among the diverse sample.  In-depth career exploration, identification with career commitment, and career self-doubt were the vocational identity factors that best predicted well-being.  Meaning, accomplishment, and engagement were the well-being factors that best predicted vocational identity.

Recommendations based on the findings of this study included revisiting performance based funding policies to incorporate the measurement of well-being and vocational identity as metrics of student success alongside more objective measures like retention, GPA, and time to graduation.  Further, recommendations were offered for integrating well-being and vocational identity enhancing activities and interventions into current practices in classroom, counseling, and advising settings.  Recommendations for qualitative, experimental, and longitudinal research designs were offered based on the findings of this study.


1:1 Tablet Technology Implementation In The Manhattan Beach Unified School District; A Case Study

Karina Gerger

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

The rapidity of technology innovations appearing in the educational context has increased dramatically over the past decade resulting in 1:1 technology initiatives materializing across the nation.  School districts, attempting to keep pace in preparing students with 21st century skills, are placing technology into the hands of students and teachers to utilize as a teaching and learning tool within the classroom.  This qualitative case study set out to explore the 1:1 tablet initiative in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD) and its commitment to 21stCentury Education, which encourages teaching and learning to move from passive onto engaged and active learning.

Grounded in Fullan’s theoretical framework of educational change, this study explored both the innovative-focused approach and the capacity-building focus which function concurrently in an effort to inform education reform strategies.  In light of new tablet technology, attempts at educational change have resulted in the success for some districts and the failure of others attempting to adopt new innovation and implement change within their organization.  Through the lens of Fullan’s framework, this study tells the story of MBUSD’s endeavor to build a sustainable program along with the capacity of its teachers, principals and district office administrators. 

Participants consisted of three teacher focus groups and ten site and district administrators who were interviewed for this study.  These participants were part of the MBUSD iPad program during its first two years of implementation.  Through the experiences of these MBUSD stakeholders, the findings identify essential factors districts must consider when contemplating the idea of adopting a 1:1 initiative.  The findings highlighted the idea that too much planning can hinder the actual implementation of an adoption of new innovation.  Implementing sooner rather than later can benefit in lessons learned and the opportunity to discover and adapt through the process.  Recommendations for policy and practice relative to the California Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Institutions of Higher Education are addressed in this study.  


Ideal Leadership Practices in Head Start: Understanding Leadership from the Perspectives of Directors and Teachers

Sandra Gonzalez

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the manner that directors and teachers define ideal leadership practices of Head Start programs. Specifically, this study focused on understanding leadership practices through the lens of transformational leadership. This study was guided by the following three research questions; (1) What are the perceptions of Head Start directors on ideal practices of leadership (2) What are the perceptions of Head Start teachers on ideal practices of leadership (3) How do the perceptions of directors compare and contrast to the perceptions of teachers.

The research methodology was a qualitative approach to understanding the perceptions of the participants through their experiences and perspectives of working in the Head Start setting.  Data were collected by means of interviews and completion of a demographic questionnaire and an adapted version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). The use of interviews allowed participants to reflect on their experiences and share their perspectives regarding what they consider ideal leadership practices in Head Start.  Data were collected from fifteen participants who currently work in various Head Start programs throughout Southern California. 

The findings revealed ideal leadership practices in alignment with the practices of transformational leadership. Directors described ideal leadership practices to include; a clear vision, collaborative, Head Start specific knowledge, and staff motivation. Teachers described ideal leadership practices to include; visibility from the director at the classroom level, the importance of leading by example, encouragement, transparency, and professional development opportunities. The results of this study are critically important with the shifts in policy to increase quality and expand access of early childhood education programs to all children. The shift in policy has resulted in greater accountability being placed on Head Start programs to deliver quality services in order to avoid losing funding. Ideal leadership practices are vital to meet the needs of the changing expectations of Head Start programs.


The “Other” Woman: What About the Experiences of Women Faculty of Color in Community Colleges?

Truc Ha

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

Community colleges play a crucial role in the U.S., serving nearly half of the undergraduate population.  They rarely receive the research focus or funding attention that that 4-year colleges and universities get in higher education literature.  Furthermore, community colleges have a far higher representation of marginalized groups, which includes women, minorities, and those from lower socioeconomic levels in their student body.  Unfortunately, community college faculty are not representative of the student demographics whom they serve and the research on the minority faculty experience in community colleges is emergent.

Critical research on the intersections of gender, race and class on women faculty of color largely addresses the experience of those in 4-year universities.  In addition, the available research on community college faculty namely addresses the perceptions of culture and climate by those of white women faculty. To date, the scholarship on the experiences of women faculty of color in community colleges is nearly non-existent.  This study offers in-depth insight into the experiences of women faculty of color at 2-year institutions, contributing to the emerging body of critical research. Bringing the perspectives of women of color faculty at 2-year institutions to the forefront validates not only their presence in academe, but also acknowledges and celebrates their work as committed educators.

This qualitative interview study used Lee’s (2003) Social Capital Network Framework as well as Zinn and Dill’s (1996) Multiracial Feminism theoretical framework as the conceptual framework to examine the experiences of women faculty of color in southern California community colleges. Addressing the gap in literature, the purpose of the study was to initiate research on an overlooked but important faculty population in higher education.  The qualitative study was guided by these research questions for women faculty of color: 1) What are the influences that shape their decision to teach at a 2-year college rather than a 4-year university? 2) What are the various roles which they perform on and off campus? 2) What are the barriers and factors faced in their academic positions? 3) How do they seek support to navigate through those challenges?

Utilizing an interview protocol, demographic questionnaire and the researcher’s background as instruments, semi-structured interviews were collected from 37 participants who represented 10 different community colleges in the urban/suburban regions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties in southern California.  The participants were self-identified as African American/Black, Asian American, Filipina/Pacific Islander, Latina, Middle Eastern and Mixed Race. They currently worked as full-time faculty members as instructional faculty, counselors and librarians.  26 of the interviews were used as exemplars in the findings.  Trustworthiness measures included member checking and peer debriefing.

Findings revealed that women faculty of color experience multiple forms of marginalization, as well as agency. The intersections of gender, race and class manifested themselves in the findings, and thus confirmed that the experiences of women faculty of color can be unified as a collective minority experience to contrast dominant groups.  They are simultaneously diversified because of the unique differences in ethnic identity and lived experience amongst each other. For many, the institutional culture and climate perceived by women faculty of color in community colleges validated that it was “chilly” and not as “warm” as those from research findings that sampled white women faculty.  In addition, the type of the community college district, academic discipline and status in the faculty hierarchy were factors that influenced their experience of climate.  Despite many expressing the culture of their institutions as political, these women of color were overwhelmingly satisfied in their faculty work. Their commitment to serving underrepresented students, and sense of responsibility to the community at large, mediated the chilliness.

Recommendations for future research include further analyses of the rich data collected from this study.  Recommendations for policy and practice include institutionalizing the hiring of diverse administrators and faculty to reach critical mass. Furthermore, community college leaders should provide formal support for women faculty of color through ongoing structured mentoring opportunities and faculty learning communities.


Latino Mixed Citizenship Status Families and Access to Higher Education

Vanessa Marroquin

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

While research on undocumented students and access to higher education is of growing concern, it is equally important to examine mixed citizenship status families. Mixed citizenship status families are families that consist of both documented and undocumented members. Passel and Cohn (2009) explain that the number of U.S. born children in mixed citizenship status families has shown significant growth in the past recent years, from 2.7 million children in 2004 to 4 million in 2008.

This study utilizes Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory as a lens to examine the different experiences that members in these families experience through their schooling and in accessing higher education. This qualitative comparative case study examined the experiences of three Southern Californian families, consisting of a minimum of one undocumented student in higher education, parents, and at least one documented student currently attending high school. This study examined, compared, and contrasted the experiences of fourteen different participants and their schooling experiences.

Major findings in this study revealed that mixed citizenship status affects both the documented and undocumented members in a variety of ways that impact their schooling experience. The findings in this study revealed that all these different relationship factors and experiences ultimately impact the individuals psychologically and academically. Findings in this study discovered the impact of changes in policy, how mixed citizenship status families effect the educational trajectories for all members of the family, relationships, the psychological stressors that affect documented siblings, as well as undocumented, and the ways in which documented siblings may defer their own college experiences in order to keep a pace with their siblings among other findings.

This study concludes with recommendations for policy and practitioners in the educational field, including suggestions for a more comprehensive immigration policy to include citizenship access for undocumented students and their parents, improvements in labor law enforcement laws, and professional development for teaching educators about the mixed citizenship status family, promoting home to school relationships, and supplying these families with resources to navigate and widen the pipeline into higher education.


The Relationship Between Educational Aspirations and Academic Achievement for Latino Middle and High School Students

Kashara Moore

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Kim, Simon

Abstract

There is a variation in the rates in which specific ethnic/racial groups are dropping out of school with Hispanics (36.5%) dropping out at a higher rate than Asian (8.6%) and White (19%) students (Stillwell, 2010). This study analyzes the group difference between Latino students’ educational aspirations and academic achievement during eighth and tenth grade, as well as gender difference in aspiration level.

The findings of this study assessing the relationship of educational aspirations and academic achievement of Latino students who are participants of GEAR UP yielded varying results.  The educational aspirations of the GEAR UP Latino students during eighth and tenth grade showed a growth in the variable over time.  Further, the educational aspirations and the academic achievement of the student participants produced relationships of significance during the students’ eighth grade year, but not during their tenth grade year.  It was found during 8th grade, participants with educational aspirations of a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree had better academic outcomes, based on CST performance, than student participants with higher educational aspirations of a professional degree (i.e. medical, law).  This was not the case for 10th grade findings, which yielded non-significant results between academic achievement and educational aspiration after the transition to high school.  Next, when analyzing aspiration level based on gender, there was no significant relationship, which may be attributed to the programming of GEAR UP.  Lastly, a regression analysis to assess the predictability of 10th grade GPA was reviewed using the independent variables 8th grade GPA, CST performance, and educational aspiration.  The analysis showed 8th grade GPA had the strongest relationship to 10th GPA.

These findings suggest there are factors beyond educational aspirations contributing to student persistence and academic achievement in high school, with 8th grade GPA having the strongest relationship to 10th grade GPA.  Based on this, the perception students have about their possible education attainment level may be developed based on educational experiences from middle school. Therefore, student’s relationships, self-efficacy, and academic performance in this period of the educational pipeline are critical for educational attainment levels beyond high school.


Integration of Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Practices in Early Childhood Care and Education Programs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: An Exploratory Case Study

Hawani Negussie

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chairs: Pattnaik, Jyotsna and Slater, Charles

Abstract

Early Childhood Care and Education in Ethiopia was revitalized after the initiatives of Education for All campaign (EFA) were introduced with intention of expanding access and improving educational opportunities to children living in disadvantaged communities. In the process of expanding access to ECCE programs in Ethiopia, a greater need to grasp the meaning of early education introduced in the context of children’s historical, social, and cultural experiences has emerged.

The purpose of this research study was to explore the integration of indigenous knowledge and cultural practices in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory in combination with Yosso’s community cultural wealth theory served as the conceptual as well as the methodological framework advising the components of this research.  This qualitative case study, invited perspectives from local parents, teachers, directors, a university faculty member, and an administrative personnel from Ministry of Education in Ethiopia. Eighteen semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, field notes, photos of programs including samples of relevant documents such as lesson plans, children’s school work, and materials used for instruction were collected to inform the results in the study.

Major findings uncovered that language, fidel, (the Ethiopian alphabet) and religion were seen as part of Ethiopia’s larger indigenous knowledge system.  Value of using indigenous knowledge including the extent of integration of cultural practices as measured through use of native language, curriculum and educational philosophy, revealed distinct language preference (Amharic or English) based on school and population demographics. Challenges of integrating indigenous knowledge were attributed to disproportionate numbers of private versus public schools, divergent education philosophy between rich and poor programs, governmental policy of switching medium of instruction to English starting in seventh grade, lack of local resources and absence of stringent monitoring agency to enforce the national mandate of Amharic as the medium of instruction in ECCE programs.

The study bears important implications for ECCE programs, policy makers, educational researchers and Ethiopia as a country. Recommendations include making the medium of instruction Amharic in conjunction with local languages in all ECCE programs. Further recommendations call for international and national support for developing indigenous resources, delayed introduction of English as a subject in elementary grades and a comprehensive ECCE teacher training program at the university level.  


Leadership Development of Mid-Level Administrators in California Community Colleges

Kay Nguyen

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Murray, John

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of mid-level administrators in California community colleges, the challenges they face in their positions; and more importantly, to explore the learning process that mid-level administrators engage in to cultivate their leadership skills to address those challenges. The study was guided by the following research questions: 1) What are the leadership and managerial challenges that California community colleges mid-level administrators face in their positions? 2) How do community college mid-level administrators develop and cultivate their leadership skills to address leadership and managerial challenges in California Community College setting? 3) What leadership skills, knowledge, and competencies do mid-level administrators believe they need in order to be effective in their position as well as their overall career? 4) What leadership development resources and support do mid-level administrators feel they need in order to advance to the next administrative level position?

The research methodology was a qualitative approach to understanding their leadership experiences. Data were collected by means of one-on-one interviews and a demographic questionnaire. Data were collected from 12 participants who currently work as deans or directors in community colleges in southern California.

Findings revealed that challenges to the mid-level administrators include managing employees, campus politics, and an increasing workload. The findings also highlighted the importance of leadership mentoring and training for mid-level administrators so they can be effective in their current position and proposition them for career advancement. Recommendations for policy and practice include adding new language in accreditation standards to focus on effective leadership and implementing ongoing managerial and leadership trainings for mid-level administrators.


The Significance Of Supportive Leadership For Retaining Beginning Elementary Teachers In Urban Schools

Steve Ortiz

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

Teacher turnover is a perennial problem in K-12 education, and is particularly salient for urban schools.  An estimated 45% of teachers leave the teaching profession during their first five years of teaching (Ingersoll, 2003).  This quantitative study set out to examine the role of the school principal in buffering teacher turnover intentions directly and indirectly through the teachers¹ perception of influence and challenging student behavior.  Specifically, the purpose of this study was to examine the direct and indirect effects of elementary school principals¹ supportive leadership on urban, elementary school beginning teachers¹ intent to leave. 

A conceptual model was developed utilizing aspects of two main theories:  the theory of planned behavior and the 2-factor theory of motivation.  Ajzen¹s (1991) theory of planned behavior describes the processes that influence intent and Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman¹s (1959) 2-factor theory of motivation describes intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to satisfaction or to dissatisfaction, respectively.  These theories informed the placement of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which influence the outcome variable of beginning teacher intent to leave.  Supportive leadership is grounded in Kouzes and Posner¹s (2007) transformational leadership dimension of encouraging the heart. 

Restricted-use data were obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  The sample of interest in this study consists of 430 teachers in urban elementary schools across the United States, including 80 males and 350 females with up to 5 years of teaching experience.  A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted on selected 2011-2012 Schools and Staffing Survey items and the results indicated they reflected valid and reliable latent factors. Structural equation modeling was used to test the direct and indirect effects among the latent factors, and the results revealed that supportive leadership had a negative and strong direct effect on urban elementary school beginning teachers¹ intent to leave.  The results also revealed that perception of influence and challenging student behavior did not mediate the effects of supportive leadership on teachers¹ intent to leave. 

The findings underscore the significance of school principals¹ supportive leadership for beginning teachers in urban elementary schools.  Based on the results of this study, recommendations were made for school principal practices, development of separate leadership standards that focus attention on the support of beginning teachers, and future research.


Empowering Chicana/o and Latina/o Students: A Framework for High School Counselors

Alejandro Padilla

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

Using Hipolito-Delgado and Lee’s (2007) empowerment theory for the professional school counselor as a framework, this qualitative study explored the techniques employed by school counselors to facilitate the empowerment of Chicana/o and Latina/o students in large California urban high schools.  The qualitative methodology included in-depth interviews using a semi-structured interview protocol and the collection of documents.  The purposeful and snowball sample was comprised of fifteen high school counselors (11 Females and 4 males).  The research questions for this study were: 1) How do high school counselors promote personal empowerment for Chicana/o and Latina/o students?  2) How do high school counselors promote community empowerment for the betterment of Chicana/o and Latina/o students? and 3)  How do high school counselors engage in advocacy on behalf of Chicana/o and Latina/o students?  The findings revealed that participants’ facilitated personal empowerment by consciousness raising, involving alumni, developing rapport and personal relationships with students, and by encouraging school and community involvement.  Additionally, parent empowerment emerged as the overarching theme for promoting community empowerment.  Last, the findings unveiled that through their role as social change agents, school counselors have the power to engage in advocacy on a student level, school level, and systemic level on behalf of Chicana/o and Latina/o students.  This study significantly expands the scant research in the school counseling literature addressing the role school counselors take in promoting social justice on behalf of Chicana/o and Latina/o students.  Recommendations from this study are offered for expanding this line of research in hopes of bringing attention to the need for Chicana/o and Latina/o student empowerment.


Unstandardizing Teaching: The Classroom Teacher as an Institutional and Empowerment Agent for Latina/o Youth’s College Access 

Leticia Rojas

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

This qualitative dissertation study explores the various roles and practices that classroom teachers can enact in their work to increase the college going rates of working-class Latina/o youth.  Utilizing Stanton-Salazar’s (2011) empowerment social capital theoretical framework, this study examined the role and identity development, practices, and challenges of 14 classroom teachers whose college-focused work aimed to increase their students’ social capital, resources, and opportunities for higher education.  In addition, it also examined those cases when educators extended their work to actively counter the inequitable schooling conditions and structures facing working-class Latina/o youth (i.e., empowerment agents).  Utilizing interviews, document collection, and journal responses, some of the emerging themes included: the role that teachers’ personal identities play in their practices for college access and social justice, the lack of funding and resources for students’ college planning prompting educators’ efforts, and the various challenging schooling structures and policies testing teacher sustainability.  Policy and practice recommendations aim to increase the development of resource-generating and empowering relationships between working-class Latina/o youth and their teachers, as well as to develop structures and environments required for teacher sustainability.  Recommendations for further research are also provided.


Pipeline Dreams:  Stories from Latina/o Community College Students Pushed Out Of The Transfer Path

Susan Salas

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Pérez Huber, Lindsay

Abstract

Latinas/os represent the largest ethnic group in California and are under- represented in higher education.  Latina/o student college completion rates are the lowest of any other racial or ethnic group, including Whites.  This study used a critical race theory theoretical lens to explore the experiences of fourteen Latina/o community college students who were pushed out of the transfer path.  Storytelling served as the basis of this study to understand and give voice to Latina/o students’ transfer path experiences.  Interview data from all participants were analyzed to extract codes and develop themes within their stories.  Demographic surveys were evaluated to identify student characteristics.          

Findings revealed that Latina/o students were pushed out of the transfer path at four points.  Students were pushed out as they found themselves on academic or progress probation, resulting in conditional financial aid suspensions.  Some students became overwhelmed as they figured out the amount of courses necessary to transfer.  Other students attempted to transition to transferable coursework, but they were unable to pass developmental courses, specifically math.  Students also reported being pushed out as they learned about the immense amount of transfer requirements, program options, and costs, which created transfer information paralysis.   

Latina/o students reported feeling emotional relief after being pushed out of the transfer pathway.  Earning an associate’s degree or certificate was an achievable goal and students felt a sense of academic accomplishment.  Students also believed that an associate’s degree was a “stepping stone” on their journey through the educational pipeline.  

Students noted several areas that adversely affected their transfer path experiences.  Negative perceptions about their race impacted their academic performance.  Erratic and limited resources—including suspension from financial aid—proved harmful to their ability to remain on the transfer path.  Gender role expectations obstructed Latina women and propelled Latino men on the transfer pathway.  The findings suggest that Latina/o students were disadvantaged by community college transfer policies, procedures, and practices.  Collaboration between the K-12 and community college educational systems may improve Latina/o student transfer path persistence by enhancing their college preparation and knowledge.  Further investigation of Latina/o student community college experiences is necessary to develop policies, procedures, and practices that will serve to strengthen their educational pathways.     


An Anti-Deficit Approach To Studying Latino Men’s Successful Journey Beyond The Bachelor’s Degree

Genice Sarcedo

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

Across colleges and universities in the United States, few Latino men are reaching higher education.  Saenz and Ponjuan (2009) call this phenomenon the “vanishing” of Latino men in higher education.  Much of the literature examining the presence of Latino men in higher education utilizes a cultural deficit approach to explain why students of color are underrepresented (Sampson, 2004).  Because of this, little is known about Latinos who, “despite all that we know about what complicates and undermines achievement for their particular racial group, manage to successfully navigate their ways to college” and through the education pipeline (Harper, 2010, p. 64). 

The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to explore the significant factors that contributed to college going for Latino men and to understand how they navigated the various points along the educational pipeline to attain degrees and enroll in graduate, doctoral, or professional degree programs.  As such, this study was guided by the anti-deficit achievement framework, structuring research questions to focus on successes and positive attributes of participants as they progress along the educational pipeline (Harper, 2010; 2012). 

The findings from 22 interviews with self-identified Latino men revealed throughout the entirety of the educational pipeline, family support and peer influence in K-12 environments, college, and post-college was salient in promoting college going, college completion, and graduate school enrollment for Latino men.  Coupled with family support and peer influence, supportive high school teachers, college access programs, engaging college professors, and student support programs also promoted Latino men’s success at each pipeline point.  The results of this study and the implied importance of peers, a supportive significant other, and the family throughout the educational pipeline for Latino men can be utilized to shape practical recommendations and suggested policy initiatives around peer programs, academic cohort models, and policies regarding academic couples. 


Understanding the Educational and Familial Context of the Successful College Choice Process for Urban High School Students

Sonya Smith

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

This qualitative case study utilized Swail’s Integrated Model of Student Success to explore the influence of educational and familial resources and support on students’ college choice process and to discover how students experienced and used these resources and support to successfully navigate the transition to college (Swail, Cabrera, Lee, & Williams, 2005).  Data for this study included pre- and post-matriculation interviews with eight low-income students of color who graduated from an urban charter high school after four years of attendance and immediately enrolled in a four-year institution.  Data also included interview transcripts from students’ parents, six of their teachers, and their counselor and principal.

Findings from this study revealed that, for the most part, educational and familial resources and support were complementary and facilitated students’ progression through the college choice continuum.  The school’s college-going culture reinforced students’ predispositions toward postsecondary education.  High quality instruction in rigorous college-preparatory classes and caring, supportive relationships with teachers and other school personnel helped students remain on track for four-year admissions.  Students who were on track for four-year admissions were provided more extensive college planning resources that facilitated their college searches and choices.  Parents encouraged their children to pursue postsecondary education at four-year institutions because of the financial benefits.  The majority of parents were not high school graduates, but all were willing to provide whatever financial and emotional support they could to ensure that their children fulfilled their educational goals.  These findings suggest the need for a national policy mandating a college preparatory curriculum for all students and for schools to provide college planning resources that complement those provided in the home so all students have an equal opportunity to reap the benefits of postsecondary education.


Be Brave, Have Hope: A Qualitative Study to Understand the Resilience in Elementary Latino Students

Noemi Villegas

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Leadership

Chair: Symcox, Linda

Abstract

The education literature is replete with deficit theories such as “Cultural Poverty,” that point out the risk factors of Latino children and their communities, but seldom do researchers study the assets of children and their immediate support networks (Zolkoski & Bullock, 2012) in order to shift the educational discourse towards strengths or capabilities Latino children often bring to school (Panter-Brick & Leckman, 2013). This qualitative study researches students’ Resilience as understood from an anthropological perspective (Ungar, 2008). Interviews were conducted with 21 participants, including students, parents and educators. Classroom observations and children’s art were also collected to expand understanding of the following research questions: (1) What are the individual characteristics of Latino students who display resilience, including personality traits, behaviors and individual attributes? (2) What are the support networks that foster students’ growth and development of positive adaptation when facing adversity, including community and/or family resources? (3) How do schools promote the development of children’s resilience?

Following a Conceptual Framework centered on Positive Psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), Empowerment Theory (Zimmerman, 2000) and Strength-Based Practices (Lopez & Louis, 2009), this study focuses on understanding the individual characteristics found in elementary Latino students as well as the support networks that promote their development of Resilience.

Findings from this study shed light on self-perceptions of students and their identified support networks. Parents’ positive perceptions of their children matched their children’s positive self-perceptions. In addition, it was found that supportive educators were able to identify not only the strengths of students, but also the strengths of parents and the community assets they possessed. Recommendations are provided for further research, practitioners, and policy makers at the local, state and national level. 


The Role Of California Community College Trustees In Growing Latina/o Leadership

Michelle Yanez-Jiminez

California State University, Long Beach 2014

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education Leadership

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

Abstract

This quantitative study examined the impact of demographic and political factors on the perceptions of problems and priorities of California Community College Trustees.  The dependent variable was the likelihood that trustees would agree that it was their role to promote Latina/o leadership.  The demographic variable of interest was ethnicity and the study examined the differences in responses among Latina/o, White and other trustees.  This study explored factors that may contribute to the steady decline of Latina/o CEO leadership and those that might aid in the growth of Latina/o leadership.      

The Latino student population in the California Community College System has surpassed the white student population as the largest sector.  However, the academic achievement of Latino students trails behind that of white students, creating an achievement gap.  The number of Latina/o trustees is also on the rise with voting demographics. However, the number of Latina/o CEO/presidential leadership is in decline.  Latino policy makers can be instrumental in the creation of a diverse campus climate and growing the number of Latina/o CEOs.  Diversity and role models are linked to improving educational outcomes for all students, particularly for Latino students.   

This study confirmed that there are significant differences in the perceptions and priorities of Latina/o and white trustees.  It was found that all trustees believed that the Latino achievement gap was a concern; however, while Latina/o and white trustees believed the gap persisted because of the growing number of remedial students and budget cuts, Latina/o trustees also believed that the gap persisted because of limited Latina/o representation and role models.  The perceptions and priorities of Latina/o trustees are shaped by culture expectations and minority status, which influence their interests to help Latino students and increase the number of Latina/o leaders.  White trustees do not share the same experiences but do share the interest to help Latino students because their role is to serve all students.  This study confirmed that Latino trustees were more likely than white trustees to agree that it was their role to promote Latina/o CEO leadership.  However, the perceptions and priorities of white trustees have a significant impact on the role of Latina/o trustees in growing Latina/o leadership.

 

last updated — Jul 29, 2014