Poder en las Voces y Acciones Comunitarias: Immigrant Young People and their Families’ Transformative Engagement with High School

Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez

Abstract


This research examines how high-school-aged undocumented immigrant Latinas/os and their families resist being marginalized in schools and in communities. These young people and their families are part of a university intergenerational participatory action research collective, Family School Partnership2 (FSP), located within an urban high school in the western mountain region of the US. The theoretical framework for the intergenerational collective research is rooted in Participatory Action Research (PAR). My analysis focuses upon the disjuncture among the dominant notions of family engagement and the exclusionary practices of schools towards Latina/o undocumented students and their families. Findings suggest that despite the plethora of “inclusive” policies adapted by school districts, undocumented students and their families in my study perceived schools as exclusionary, especially with regards to family engagement and equitable educational opportunities. My research chronicles how undocumented students and families revolutionized their feelings and experiences of powerlessness and exclusion into activist transformative school engagement. This article concludes by discussing future directions that schools could take to increase family engagement with Latina/o undocumented immigrant students and their families and the implications for student academic success.

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