Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Frances Wills

Second Supervisor

Shelley Jallow

Abstract

In the early 1990s, there were five million Latino students enrolled in America’s public schools. A decade later, this number had doubled in size. Presently, over 50% of Latino students attend urban schools located in high-poverty neighborhoods with high crime rates, welfare dependency, and educational failure. With this increase in the enrollment of Latino students and the associated impact on the American workforce, it is necessary to ensure that Latino students achieve the educational standards required to succeed in the workforce. This phenomenological qualitative study examined the factors and influences that contribute to Latino high school seniors graduating from an urban high school and their enrollment in a post-secondary institution. The study identified the themes and patterns that emerged from in-depth interviews with a sample of nine Hispanic students, four males and five females. The findings provide insight into the environmental and inner challenges that Latino students faced during their high school years. The motivating factors and strategies of the Latino students identified as influencing their high school graduation were: understanding self, desire to be better than their parents, parents’ encouragement, extra-curricular school activities, and the desire to move out of their community. Their narratives identified the environmental factors that played a major role in their lives, and the Latino students’ resilience and growth mindset were portrayed in their stories. vi Recommendations are to further research Latino students and their families to lead to the development of prevention and intervention programs that build resiliency. In addition, further research should be done to influence educational and political policies to support academic and social well-being for English Language Learners.

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