Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Tricia Kress

Second Advisor

Joseph Check

Third Advisor

Denise Patmon


Literature on family engagement in schools has generally omitted the perspectives of Latino caregivers, thus limiting educators' scholarly access to this information. This ten month study examined Latino caregivers' perceptions of family engagement with the DPS in an effort to better comprehend and appreciate their understanding of; how they contribute to their child(ren)'s education, what influences their home school relationships, and what they believe to be important in creating positive home school relationships. Three Latino moms' perceptions of their engagement with DPS were featured.

Since neither ethnography nor phenomenology alone was comprehensive enough to capture both the greater cultural picture and individualized perspectives, I merged the two to create a new methodology; ethnogra/phenomenology. I used a combination of inquiry techniques; observations, interviewing, and journaling/memoing.

Analysis of data led to multiple important findings. First, the Latino moms interviewed engage with their children's schools. They support their children's education on both formal (in school) and personal (in home) levels. Although these moms attend school events, they expect the school to personally invite them. Second, caregivers' attitudes, perceptions and level of home school engagement are influenced by each mom's access to and employment of social and economic capital, individual and national identity, the degree to which the home and school cultures align, the frequency and intensity of contact between educators and parents, as well as the perceived warmth and caring from the school. Third, home school engagement is hinged upon positive relationships and trust building. Forth, emerging theory grew from exploring the interchange and progression of work happening between the caregiver and educator (as well as between the researcher and moms) when they came together, shared the same space, and developed relationships.

The implications of this study are important for educators and policy makers seeking to engage all families. Ongoing partnerships that integrate home and school practices of supporting students' learning and academic success are needed. When educators and caregivers join together to build reciprocal one to one caring trusting relationships they learn from each other how to bridge cultural differences between home and school, and ultimately create the partnerships that promote student academic achievement.


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