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2020 Dissertations

2020 Dissertations

Dollaz + Sense: The True Cost of Education for Black Women

Khaleah Katrell Bradshaw

 

California State University, Long Beach 2020

 

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

 

Chair: Ortiz, Anna

 

Abstract

During the winter of 2020, forty-seven single, Black women from across the United States participated in a qualitative study examining the role their advanced education played in their romantic, dating lives. Using Patricia Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought and Blau and Duncan’s Status Attainment Theory, the study evaluates the validity of the American Dream for Black communities when Black women are out-educating their male counterparts at disproportionate rates. In the United States of America, college is positioned as the ultimate tool to ensure the American dream. Black women have been committed to obtaining higher education in this country for over a century, but because of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and exclusion based on race, gender, and class, their investment in their education has not been reciprocated and has resulted in their unique representation being nearly nonexistent in higher education literature.

With the education gap widening between men and women of all races, the gap is the largest among Black men and Black women and many Black women are achieving financial and economic success without marriage. With the increased number of Black women pursuing graduate school and professional school, marriage is being viewed for successful white couples only. This study asks a representative sample what is the true cost of education for Black women? 

Who Loses Financial Aid? A Critical Examination of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy at a California Community College

Anna Yukiko Mori Brochet

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Olson, Avery

Abstract

Persistent racial and ethnic inequalities are known to be problematic and have been extensively cited in education. Yet, the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy requires academic performance standards to be met by all students receiving federal financial aid in order to maintain their eligibility. Using Critical Race Theory, Critical Policy Analysis, and QuantCrit as the conceptual framework, the purpose of this study was to examine whether students at a California community college were differentially impacted in order to understand the unintended consequences, hidden assumptions, and uncover who is disadvantaged by the SAP policy.

This study used a descriptive and correlational design to analyze secondary data of a single community college located in Southern California. Data of one cohort over a six-year period was disaggregated to describe who lost financial aid due to not meeting SAP standards by race, ethnicity, and gender. Inferential statistical analyses were done to determine relationships between race/ethnicity, gender, loss of financial aid, and completion.

Results found that SAP policy impacted students differentially with African American and Hispanic students losing financial aid in higher proportions than Asian, Filipino, two or more races, and White students. In addition, students who lost financial aid were 51% less likely to complete their degrees, certificates, and/or transfer-related outcomes. These findings suggest SAP policy negatively impacts completion for students of color, countering efforts toward educational equity. Based on the findings, a reexamination of federal, state, and local policies is recommended to mitigate the negative impact of SAP—including ensuring students have a warning period before losing financial aid and permitting students to appeal their loss of financial aid. Appeals should allow for consideration of historical inopportunity, equity gaps, and underrepresentation in higher education. Finally, student support services should be offered to students for the duration of the time they are not meeting SAP standards to provide assistance with the appeals process and support them in an effort to improve their academic performance to eventually meet SAP standards.

Evaluating a Conceptual Model for First-Year Retention of Students at Public Comprehensive Colleges in California

Matthew H. Case

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Locks, Angela

Abstract

While improving, bachelor’s degree attainment remains low and unequal by race and socioeconomic status, which perpetuates social inequities in the US (Bailey & Dynarski, 2011; Denning, 2019; Flores, Park, & Baker, 2017, Ma, Pender, & Welch, 2017; Turner, 2004). As the largest and most diverse four-year university system in the country, California State University (CSU) has set goals to expand college access while dramatically improving graduation rates and eliminating equity gaps in college completion. As the CSU grants more baccalaureate degrees than any other higher education institution in the state, expanding access and improving student retention will be necessary to close these gaps and meet needs for college-educated workers. A range of individual, institutional, and policy factors have been shown to influence retention and persistence outcomes, and many agree that students’ transition to and continued enrollment during the first year is a critical to both student and institutional success. Less studied in the context of student enrollment and persistence is the relevance of students’ proximity in relation to college enrollment and persistence (Turley, 2009; Gonzalez-Canché, 2018), particularly at more regionally focused institutions.

The purpose of this study was to better understand the factors associated with retention of first-time students from California high schools attending four-year public comprehensive colleges in the state. Based on relevant theoretical and empirical literature on student retention and persistence, a conceptual framework for first-year student retention was developed to guide variable selection and modeling. A conceptual model was developed that focuses on the influence of eight components, including student background and pre-college characteristics, environmental pull factors, institutional allegiance, institutional support and quality, college experiences, academic performance, and institutional commitment.

The study utilized a quantitative longitudinal design to examine relationships between these factors and retention from the second to third semester. The sample included 4,325 first-time students from California high schools from the Fall 2016 entering first-time cohort at six urban, four-year, primarily non-residential (e.g. commuter) colleges in California, based on administrative data and survey data from the Spring 2017 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Findings indicate that enrolling at a college further from home, being required to complete developmental coursework in both English and Math, having a higher perceived likelihood that financial problems may delay completing college, and working off-campus more than half-time (21 or more hours per week) were associated with reduced likelihood of returning for a second year. Students with higher grades, STEM majors, and those more satisfied with their institutional choice were more likely to be retained, controlling for other factors. Student background characteristics, financial aid and institutional and student engagement factors did not have direct relationship with retention for the full sample, but were associated with improved academic performance during the first year. Analyzing the sample by the subgroups of race/ethnicity, Pell status, and distance from home found a consistent influence of first-year grades on retention as well as different factors influencing retention across these student groups. 

The findings provide a greater understanding of pre-college and college environmental influences on retention in urban commuter four-year colleges in California. Based on the findings, specific recommendations are provided for institutional practice in enrollment management and student affairs as well as state and institutional policies related to access, student financial aid, and college planning for K-12 students and staff.

“Our Kids Aren't Attending”: Perceptions of School Leaders and African American Parents/Guardians towards Student Chronic Absenteeism at the Elementary School Level

Andres Castro

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

The perceptions of stakeholders within a school community regarding student attendance are indicative of the critical importance of attending school, particularly in the early grades, as it relates to social and academic growth (Cole, 2011).  Different forms of research and practice when exploring the factors that affect school attendance may help identify challenges that impede equity in education.  This case study allowed African American parents/guardians and school leaders to use their voice to address the importance of school attendance and advocate for their students who encounter issues with chronic absenteeism and its effect on their academic achievement and behavior.  The portraiture methodology used to develop a narrative and story for each participant centered on their perceptions of student attendance and chronic absenteeism.  Their perceptions were then interpreted and discussed through the theoretical lens of critical race theory.  In addition to interviews, this research utilized observations and document analysis to explore the stakeholders’ perceptions of attendance and absenteeism at a predominantly African American elementary school in an urban area of Southern California.

It’s Getting Cold in Here: Perceptions of Campus Climate for Latino Males at a Metropolitan Community College

Julio Rene Flores

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

Since 2000, the Latina/o population has accounted for more than half of the national demographic growth, encompassing over 58 million in 2016 (Flores, 2017). In addition to their growth within the national population, Latina/o students are also the fastest growing group within educational settings (Chapa & De La Rosa, 2004). Despite the growing numbers of Latina/os within the larger society, and their increasing presence on college campuses, differences occur when disaggregating by other student identities  (e.g. gender, sexual orientation, etc.). Latino males are not keeping pace relative to their male and female peers at key transition points along the education pipeline (Figueroa, 2016). Scholars have argued that experiences on college campuses of students of color profoundly differ with that of their White counterparts. Since campus racial climate is a critical component of the college environment, and a student’s perception of college environment contribute to college outcomes, assessing the campus climate for Latino males is warranted. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of campus climate for Latino males at a community college. By understanding the processes involved in experiencing the campus climate, student affairs professionals will have a better understanding in tailoring their interventions to circumvent the negative consequences that are associated with “chilly” campus climates.

This nonexperimental, quantitative, correlational study examined the relationships between Latino male students’ perceptions of campus climate for diversity and equity and institutional support for diversity and equity at a community college located in California, referred to as Metropolitan Community College (MCC). This study examined the relationship between predictor variables and criterion variables. The variables of interest in this study are gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation (IV), and perceptions of campus climate (DV). Moreover, this is study is positioned as critical quantitative research by employing interserctionality as an analytical framework. This framework has historically been employed in qualitative educational research, where it has been pivotal in conceptualizing experiences of inequality and discrimination (Peterson, 2006). Descriptive and frequency statistics and a series of t-tests were conducted. The varying results suggest that Latina/o people are not monolithic. Findings suggest that we must stop looking at a singular lens and seek to understand the varying identities of Latino male students. This unique investigative study contributes to the existing literature by examining the experiences of Latino males in the community college, where this group his heavily concentrated. The findings of this study can help practitioners and policymakers to design better programs and policies for minoritized students so that students do not feel “strangers in a strange land” (Bell, 1970, p. 540).

Social Emotional Learning and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy within Teacher Preparation Programs

Maricela Gallegos

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Although Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has gained interest in the education field and has been correlated to positive outcomes for students, there are no clear policies or procedures about training teachers in the instruction of SEL.  Teachers are a crucial part of teaching curriculum to students and supporting their well-being, including social emotional competence; yet, there seems to be no systemic structure within teacher preparation programs to prepare pre-service teachers about SEL instruction.  Ladson-Billings’ theory of culturally relevant pedagogy and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning’s  (CASEL) framework of social emotional learning were the two frameworks utilized to help examine how SEL is implemented within teacher preparation programs and assess the use of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) within SEL.  The purpose of this case study was to record faculty and prospective teachers’ perspectives in a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) on how teacher preparation programs implement Social Emotional Learning in pre-service courses in order to prepare their candidates for work with students in urban Pk-12 settings. 

Faculty and prospective teachers within four teacher preparation programs in a public university were interviewed about their perspectives on SEL and its implementation in curriculum within diverse populations.  The major findings in this study documented that both faculty and prospective students feel the teacher-student relationship is a critical foundation to help students succeed.  The students’ cultural background, including family and community environments are essential in establishing those relationships because they help build trust and connection.  Although the programs do have components of SEL and CRP within their curriculum, there is a need to further develop the competencies of self-management and responsible decision-making and the domain of sociopolitical consciousness.

Keywords: Social Emotional Learning, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, pre-service teachers, faculty, teacher preparation programs

EYE BALLS! Click! EARS! Open: A Qualitative Study to Begin Understanding the Experiences of Veteran Resource Center Administrators Within California Community Colleges

Juan Carlos Garcia

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Vega, William

Abstract

Since 2010, California community colleges began to implement veterans resource centers (VRC) to assist with the influx of Post 9/11 student veterans entering higher education. Depending on the needs of their students, each center provides different types of support services while following the California Community College Chancellor’s Office three pillars of support: academics, wellness, and camaraderie.

This basic qualitative study explored the experiences of VRC administrators during the implementation and sustainment of their center. Fifteen participants were identified through a convenience and snowball sample. Bolman and Deal’s (2017) Four Frame model was used as the theoretical framework to analyze the experiences of VRC administrators.

The findings indicated that VRC administrators experience a range of inhibitors and facilitators while implementing and sustaining these programs, with many reporting barriers with upper administration, specifically. Staffing and funding continue to be a hurdle, even with the first-year allocation in 2017-2018. VRC administrators also reported hurdles navigating campus and local politics, and many felt their student veterans were used to leverage support for personal agendas instead of student needs. Lastly, VRC administrators reported their utilization of military traditions and symbols to change campus culture and climate as well as to gain support for their advocacy efforts.

Recommendations for policy include training and legislative support for VRCs. Most VRC administrators indicated that legislative support is needed to receive higher amounts of funding and support systemwide. Finally, VRC administrators should practice awareness of their own student veteran population to implement support services.

Beyond Bathrooms: The Principal's Role as Social Justice Leader and Advocate for Inclusive Transgender Policies in Middle Schools

Anna Marie Ernandes

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

Over 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide after experiencing homelessness, sexual assault, displacement from families, and societal connectivity (Haas, Rodgers, & Hermann, 2014). However, most of the studies on transgender safety as a marginalized group pertains to adults, with little information on transgender students, i.e. those in a Pre-Kindergarten-12th grade school setting. Even less research has been conducted on students identifying as transgender on students in grades six through eight. Stryker (2017) reveals that during early adolescence, teens are developing increased empathy for others and moving beyond their egocentric selves. Therefore, focusing on building universal access for all students in a six through eight educational setting is critical towards creating inclusive adults. With the lack of federal guidelines and persistent evolution of laws pertaining to transgender rights particular to middle-school-aged students, schools are now faced with meeting the needs of transgender students.

Therefore, a qualitative study of twelve middle school principals from different districts in Southern California has been conducted. The focus of this study is on the princiapl’s role as a social- justice leader for transgender middle school students. Principal’s reponses are analyzed using O’Brien’s (2017) A Typology of Moral Positionality of Educational Administrators. Implications for change include District involvement, creation of universal policies, professional development suggestions, and considerations to inclusive curriculum. By promoting visibility of transgender students, it is possible to reduce bullying and promote supportive and inclusive adults.

Based on princiapls’ responses, several recommendations for future practice emerged. Additionally, the recommendations are rooted in O’Brien’s framework by identifying areas of need specific to the most ethically grounded practices.  The first recommendation is to form a CCDI, Community Counsel for Diversity and Inclusion, which oversees and ensures inclusive practices for all marginalized groups. The second recommendation involves restructuring Board Policy to include a GSA on all middle school compuses, with the potential to reformt to elementary schools. Final recommendations are presented as a congolomerate of general changes to practice and items for principals to consider.

Establishing a Culture of Collaboration: Determining a School's Readiness for Professional Learning Communities in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Patricia Louise Eschardies Holmquist

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

In many schools across the nation, principals and teachers arrive each day, enter their offices and classrooms, and go about their day with very little substantive interaction with colleagues (Cook, 2008; Rasberry & Mahajan, 2008). Catholic schools have been set up to be autonomous environments due to the structure, hierarchy, and laws of the Catholic Church (ADLA Administrative Handbook, 2019). As a result, Catholic school principals often feel isolated from one another and find it difficult to collaborate on school matters (Cook, 2008). The effects of isolation are heightened in Catholic schools where most schools are smaller in size with only one teacher per grade level. This requires a shift in schools from a culture of isolation to one of collaboration (DuFour & Marzano, 2011). In addition, greater demands on accountability at all levels, have made it increasingly necessary to establish collaborative work environments, such as professional learning communities (PLCs). High performing PLCs, require schools, districts, and or arch/dioceses to change some of their traditional practices (DuFour & Marzano, 2011, p. 21). Breaking out of the traditional isolation model has been especially difficult in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles where most TK/K-8 schools are comprised of single-graded classrooms.

This mixed methods study utilized conceptual frameworks by DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, & Mattos (2016) on establishing PLCs, while leveraging Fullan’s (2005) Eight Forces for Leaders of Change. These frameworks provided an analytical lens with which to view teachers’ perceptions of the current reality of their schools’ culture, as well as to guide principals’ in their roles to implement change in order to improve educational practices. In addition, the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) framework developed by (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, & Mattos, 2016) provided the analytical lens for schools at the intersection of readiness for PLC implementation. The combination of these two theories explains the dynamic impact that occurs when the PLC framework and Change Theory are implemented concurrently. They provide the foundation and focus for the both teachers and principals.

The purpose of this study was to explore teachers’ perceptions of the school’s culture, leadership, teaching practices, and professional growth and development to identify strengths and/or barriers that may affect a school’s readiness to establish professional learning communities. The researcher conducted a survey of teachers (n=111) using the School-Level Readiness Instrument (SLRI), analyzed the results, and then built on those results to illuminate further understanding utilizing focus groups. The data derived from the surveys and the experience of participating in the focus group interview informed the principals (n=11) of the strengths and/or barriers to full implementation of professional learning communities at their school sites. The focus group interview allowed the principals time to share best practices and to collaborate on ways to move forward taking into consideration their respective school results from the School-level Readiness Instrument (SLRI) survey.

Findings from this study were used to answer the two research questions. The first research question relied on quantitative data from teacher surveys to measure teachers’ perceptions of their school sites in terms of culture, leadership, teaching, and professional growth and development. The second research question relied on qualitative data from researcher led focus group sessions to capture the essence of the principals’ reactions to their teachers’ perceptions based on survey results. Results from this study indicated participating schools are strong in culture, leadership, teaching, and professional growth and development and principals are ready and willing to move forward in implementing and developing PLCs at their school sites.

Recommendations include building capacity at the school through providing training and professional development for paraprofessionals and/or instructional aides; building leadership capacity by developing a Summer Leadership Academy for TK/K-12 educators; and building organizational capacity to foster systemness throughout the ADLA.

The researcher recommends that this study be replicated in the following ways: a larger sampling of schools within the ADLA to gather enough data to provide generalizable findings; at the high school level to provide data about high school readiness to implement PLCs; and to Catholic school systems across the nation to gather longitudinal data tied to Catholic school effectiveness and student success.

Job Readiness for Students with Disabilities

Kaitlin Jackson

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Powers, Kristin

Abstract

The purpose of this single-site quantitative study was to explore the differences in job readiness among students with disabilities who were and were not participants of a career development transition program, specifically WorkAbility IV at a large public university in southern California. Job readiness and career development are important to all college students, yet, students with disabilities have increased barriers such as workplace discrimination. There is a need to understand why some students enroll in postsecondary transition programs students for disabilities and whether these programs impact job readiness factors that assist with their ability to join the workforce.

One hundred and ninety-two students completed a survey based on existing instruments. The survey provided overall insight into the job-readiness of students with disabilities who are and are not part of the WorkAbility IV program. Overall, the study found that WorkAbility IV students were less likely to have had a high school job than the comparison group.  Also, WorkAbility IV students reported more family support in terms of advocacy, career, and academic support, and college experience than the comparison group. Finally, they reported having received less job training than the comparison group.

Linked Learning: The Black Experience

Dennis Johnson

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Hsieh, Betina

Abstract

This qualitative study examined the experiences of fifteen Black graduates who successfully graduated from California Linked Learning pathways and “wall to wall” high schools and are enrolled in college and/ or are employed. It also examined the role community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) played in shaping participants’ pathway experiences.  Black graduates representing six counties in the state of California were interviewed for the study. Results revealed that though graduates overwhelmingly enjoyed their pathway experiences, they faced many challenges. Majority of graduates went to college, but did not enroll in a college major similar to their pathway, and therefore they had mixed feeling about college preparedness. Furthermore, few participants had structured work-based learning opportunities.  In relation to community cultural wealth, participants held strong social ties, their mothers were the most influential figure in their lives, and several saw the importance of Black affinity spaces to help them succeed during high school.

The Dynamics of Identities: A Narrative Inquiry of Queer College Students of Color

Marcus Lindsay Jones

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

The purpose of this narrative study was to explore how queer students of color perceive their gender identity in relation to their other identities and to explore how environmental factors on campuses support the development of their identities. The Queered Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity is the theoretical framework  utilized to explore and understand how queer students of color perceive their gender identity in relation to their other identities. A narrative inquiry approach to this qualitative study reveals how each of the five participants construct and navigate their gender identity in relationship to their other identities, such as race, ethnicity, culture, disability, mental health, and sextual orientation. Findings from this study illuminate the critical roles for faculty, staff, and administrators perform in creating a supportive environment and providing queer students of color with the resources they need to affirm their identities. Recommendations for supporting queer students of color are identity-based development trainings for higher education employees and to provide increase access for mental health services by providing unlimited counseling sessions.

An Examination of Work-Based Learning Implementation: A Study of Teacher Perception and Employer Engagement

Joanne J. Jung

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Scott, James

Abstract

The competitiveness and marketability of the U.S. workforce depends on the preparation of the labor force. In order to keep pace with the evolving economy, workforce demands and impending retirements, schools in California have recognized the importance of equipping students for both college and careers. The responsibilities of schools have become far more complex and multi-dimensional in the 21st century. The Linked Learning reform effort is one prominent approach used by schools for college and career preparation, particularly utilizing work-based learning as a strategy to focus specifically on career preparation. One of the success ingredients necessary for implementing work-based learning is having strong partnerships among education and businesses. However, there are inherent challenges associated with this. Therefore, this study required investigating teacher perceptions and experiences in work-based learning implementation, as well as employer perception and engagement associated with work-based learning. 

Utilizing mixed methods, this case study examined one school district’s work-based learning implementation. A combination of data collected from the Work-Based Learning Survey, teacher interviews and employer focus group discussion, the findings revealed two major themes: workforce preparation and integrated curriculum and instruction. Based on the themes, implications for policy, practice and further research are included.

The overall findings indicated both teachers and employers believed WBL is essential to preparing students for college and careers, especially associated with career preparation. Schools cannot implement WBL alone, having strong partnerships with employers is paramount and a key ingredient. Alignment of curriculum and workplace expectations is needed. Finally, employers are in need of qualified staff equipped with appropriate essential skills, therefore, utilizing WBL as a strategy to close the employability skills-gap would provide intrinsic value for the workforce.

Urban Public High Schools and Latina/o STEM Achievement

Ricardo Lois

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Perez-Huber, Lindsay

Abstract

Latina/os are underrepresented in the growing, lucrative, and stable U.S. STEM economy.  Increased participation in the STEM economy could serve as a vehicle for Latina/os to improve their economic footing in the United States and help the need for native STEM workers.  One requirement for participation in the STEM economy is completion of a STEM college degree and Latina/os are underrepresented among the ranks of STEM graduates.  Though much of the research literature focuses on the challenges facing Latina/o students in K-12 education, a precursor to their participation in STEM college studies, this study develops a better understanding of how urban public high schools supported the success of Latina/os prepared to enter four-year college STEM majors.  Using qualitative interviews and grounded in the anti-deficit achievement framework for research on students of Color in STEM (Harper, 2010) and Latino Critical Theory, this study exams how race mediated the supports Latina/os STEM achievers received in high school.  Specifically, STEM courses, instructional pedagogy, staff actions, and extracurricular activities are considered.  Findings based on analysis of the student interviews are presented, along with recommendations in the areas of policy, practice, and research, for teachers, administrators, and other school leaders working with Latina/o students in urban settings and seeking to improve their STEM outcomes.

“Caballerismo”: Latino Father Engagement within Head Start Environments

Karina Agredano Loza

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Children’s early experiences and interactions within early childhood education (ECE) settings play an important role in their developmental trajectory, experiences that are often assumed to be shared with mothers over fathers. The benefits of father engagement within ECE settings has been gaining attention; however, there is still a need to further explore fathers’ expectations of ECE programs and how ECE programs can improve and encourage father engagement. This is particularly important within the Latino population as it has been one of the fastest growing minority populations within the United States and an ever-increasing population being serviced within Head Start Programs. Early research on Latino father engagement has held that Latino fathers were often detached and behaved according to stereotyped roles characterized by machismo primarily focusing on the negative aspects. Machismo in this study was used as a positive cultural value with a focus on caballerismo. The study explored 20 Latino fathers’ expectations of two Head Start school environments within the greater Los Angeles area. Using a qualitative research design and Ecocultural Theory, the study aimed to understand how fathers make sense of their lives and experiences that would potentially shape how they engage with their young children. Results indicate that Latino fathers are proactively constructing an ecocultural niche that serves to sustain father-child interactions and relationships that go beyond the material needs of a child. These niches are influenced by Latino cultural values such as respeto, educación, and familismo, breaking through the negative machismo stereotype and seeing the important role that Head Start programs play in supporting their children’s development and their own. Fathers expressed how they would like more workshops and/or school events that are hands on and interactive as well as provided at different times of the day and week to help increase attendance. These results bring attention to the need to address stereotypical misconceptions of Latino fatherhood, documenting Latino father-child relationships that are composed of caregiving, play/family, and academic activities that do not fall into the Latino father characterization of being a disengaged and authoritarian father.

Keywords: fathers, Latino fathers, father engagement, Head Start, early childhood education

Trauma Informed Care: The Perceptions of Head Start Teachers

Jennifer Montgomery

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

This study investigates Head Start teachers’ perceptions and understandings of trauma- affected behaviors, factors that attribute to the cause and perpetuation of trauma, and strategies of trauma-informed-care (TIC) within the Head Start preschool program.  Preschools and early childhood educators are uniquely positioned to address issues of childhood trauma however; many early childhood education (ECE) teachers are ill equipped to work effectively with trauma-affected behaviors.  Loomis (2018) suggested preschools are potential natural systems of care that can be leveraged to support children who have experienced trauma; however, there is little research to suggest best practices.  To explore issues of trauma and TIC strategies, the teachers of an urban Head Start program serving the Los Angeles area were interviewed to address their experiences.  This Head Start program has initiated teacher training addressing issues of trauma as well as broad based services to serve the community.  Their efforts highlighted in this study will contribute to a growing body of research focusing on best practices for trauma-informed preschool.

Uncovering the Exodus: Identifying the Core of Preschool Teacher Turnover

Reshon Tamar Moutra

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Slater, Charles

Abstract

This study investigates a significantly understudied phenomenon within the field of early childhood education (ECE); The issue of high teacher turnover rates. The turnover rate amongst preschool teachers on average ranges anywhere from 25 to 50% per year which is almost four times greater than that of K-12 teachers (Well, 2015; Whitebook & Sakai, 2003). With this in mind, this study sought to understand: (1) the institutional factors that influence turnover amongst ECE teachers; (2) the personal factors that influence teacher turnover in ECE; and (3) what current and former ECE teachers recommend as the solution for combatting the issue of high teacher turnover rates in ECE. Participants consisted of former and current preschool teachers who once taught within Los Angeles County and neighboring cities. Recorded, semi-structured interviews were used as the method of data collection. The sample size was 15 participants. Interviews were transcribed by an external agency, analyzed, and coded for themes by the researcher.

Data collected within this study was analyzed through the lenses of three theories: (1) Albert Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, (2) Bolman and Deal’s four-frame model, and (3) Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Bandura’s theory helps to support the personal factors associated with ECE teacher turnover. Bolman and Deal’s four-frame model supports the institutional factors that contribute to ECE, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ties both the institutional and personal factors together. This study will contribute to the field of early childhood education by providing pertinent information that will help to strengthen the workforce and most importantly, retain high-quality teachers.

Tật Nguyền: Exploring Experiences of Vietnamese American Parents in Raising Children with Disabilities in the US

Thuyvi Nguyen

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Reese, Leslie

Abstract

Parental involvement has been widely supported by research literature as one of the most important factors in affecting students’ achievement outcomes. Regardless of students’ cultural background, language, SES status or disability status, parental involvement has been positively correlated with improved outcomes. Studies have found that involvement of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families in the education of their children with disabilities is limited compared to their Caucasian middle class counterparts in ways commonly recognized by school personnel. In order to increase their involvement and recognize parent contributions to student learning and well-being, it is critical for school personnel to develop knowledge about the cultural practices and system of beliefs of the different ethnic groups they work with. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of one such ethnic group, Vietnamese Americans, in raising their children with disabilities in the United States and how these experiences influence their perceptions of parental involvement. Findings from this study highlighted the internal and external assets participants utilized in overcoming barriers that were often the symptoms of deeply entrenched ideological and systemic discriminations to engage in parental involvement activities that support their children. Findings from this study will add to the body of knowledge on CLD families and assist researchers, educational practitioners and policy makers in developing effective strategies to work with families and children with special needs from diverse backgrounds.

Faculty Professional Development Pertaining to Students with Disabilities in the Southern California Community College Setting 

Amra Pepic-Koubati

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Achola, Edwin

Abstract

This qualitative study explored faculty members’ experiences and perceptions of professional development pertaining to students with disabilities (SWD) in the community college setting. Using semi-structured interviews, the first sub question explored participants’ background and professional contexts and their influence on perceptions and experiences, and the second sub question examined the most effective formats of training initiatives. Thematic analysis of the qualitative results indicated that community college faculty members have positive perceptions of the professional development opportunities pertaining to SWD.  Additionally, faculty background and professional contexts had notable implications for professional development experiences related to SWD.  Ultimately, when addressing perceptions of effective professional development, participants highlighted the need for ongoing, multifaceted training within the community college contexts. Based on the results, implications of these findings and recommendations for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Math Placement of Language Minority High School Students

Kimberly Ann Powers

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: An, Shuhua

Abstract

When a language-minority immigrant enters high school, there are a variety of assessments given to place them in the proper English language development class. The placement in mathematics does not have the same uniform procedure. As a result, students are often improperly placed in their initial high school math course. Mathematics courses are vertically aligned therefore a student must take them in a certain order. Improper initial placement can restrict a student’s opportunity to enroll in the college-preparation math classes needed for university acceptance. This study explored the opportunities students had when they were placed in the proper initial math course, focusing on examining how the initial math placement impacted language minority immigrant high school students (LMIHS)’s math course final grades as well as examining the relationship between the initial math placement and LMIHS students’ English language status, attitudes about placement, expectations of college preparation math courses, respectively.  This study involved 54 LMIHS participants from the English Language Development (ELD) program at a suburban California high school, and used the quantitative correlation methods to analyze the data from two initial math placement tests, course final grades, and a survey.  The results of this study show that the two initial math tests were the significant predictors of student math success as measured by the final scores in their math courses. The results of the data analysis of this study also show some significant relationships between initial math placement and ELD placement and between initial math placement and other important factors from the survey.

Building the Professional Capacity of Paraprofessionals through Onboarding

Wendy Anne Rosenquist

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Elementary/Secondary Education

Chair: Hansuvadha, Nat

Abstract

Many studies have investigated the inadequacy of training and support for special education paraprofessionals (paras); but few have examined training with a quantitative method and even less recommend actionable next steps in a comprehensive plan. This study addresses the concern over paras’ lack of knowledge and training and what factors impact job performance in public school districts. A quantitative action research study of special education paraprofessionals was conducted in a large urban school district. Based on themes from the literature and the expertise of an insider, the purpose was to increase the understanding of the relationship and effect of characteristics and knowledge on training in order to create an onboarding plan for paras. Data collection consisted of survey data of 289 participants, which included special education paras and special education teachers. Through a conceptual framework constructed of Bolman and Deal’s (2017) structural frame of organizations, the Change Management Model ADKAR (Hiatt, 2006), and Organizational Socialization (Bauer & Erdogan, 2011), a formal institutionalized onboarding program for new front-line education employees was developed. Results showed that paras are not adequately trained, have specific training topics of importance, and find certain characteristics and knowledge affect job performance. An onboarding plan is included for immediate implementation along with quick fixes and future research.

Keywords: paraprofessional, onboarding, special education, job performance, professional development

Watering the Roses that Grew from the Concrete: The Support Services for Formerly Incarcerated Students on a Community College Campus

Anacany Torres

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: Flores, Nina

Abstract

Formerly incarcerated students seeking education are more likely to start at community college due to accessibility. Community colleges are hence positioned to respond to the growing needs of these individuals to assist with their successful reintegration to education and society. Student support services for formerly incarcerated students at the community college level are scarce and widely unavailable. Additionally, little research exists examining the needs and transitional experiences of formerly incarcerated students. As the need for a reduction in recidivism and rehabilitation continues in California, education is becoming a determining factor in addressing this issue. This qualitative research examines the challenges formerly incarcerated students have when transitioning to community college, the supports they need to persist and the institutional challenges which exist in community colleges to deliver services.

LGBTQ College Leaders: Challenges and Insights on Creating a More Inclusive Campus

Sonya Catherin Valentine

California State University, Long Beach 2020

Specialization: Community College/Higher Education

Chair: O’Brien, Jonathan

Abstract

This qualitative interview study used intersectionality as a theoretical frame to understand the experiences of 12 LGBTQ community college presidents. This study explored the problem of creating a more inclusive campus through the voices of leaders with diverse intersecting identities along lines of race and ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. This study found that experiences of othering, lead to the development of elements of character (advocate, presence, pioneer, and inclusive) that resisted inequality and challenged the status quo. Presidents demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion manifest in the theme of walking the walk as change agents on their campuses.

LGBTQ community college presidents represent a diverse group of leaders positioned to lead community colleges in creating a more inclusive campus community. LGBTQ college presidents, as the most public and symbolic face of their institutions, can challenge negative stereotypes about LGBTQ people and create campus climates that are more welcoming and inclusive of all populations. LGBTQ college leaders are members of both insider group (as leader) and outsider group (as sexual minority), so have unique insight into factors that impact inclusivity, namely how privilege and oppression interact within campus groups, so are positioned to bridge these domains to facilitate change.