Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Susanna Steeg, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ginny Birky, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Patrick Allen, Ph.D.


This narrative-based qualitative study endeavored to learn from Latina mothers’ stories about their experiences with parental involvement in their children’s school. Through semistructured interviews, the research explores the barriers and successes experienced by these mothers as they sought to be involved. Participants were recruited from a culturally-specific parent group, which was formed several years prior to the study as a focused strategy for parental involvement within the school-wide Title I school’s improvement process. The mothers were predominately first-generation immigrants from Mexico, working and living in low-income situations. Their stories indicated significant cultural differences in conceptualizations of parental involvement, respect, and communication. These barriers were addressed by stakeholders supporting the parental involvement group, which empowered the mothers to redefine parental involvement in culturally-responsive ways. Findings suggest that these Latina mothers were involved, particularly when offered opportunities inclusive of Latino cultures and reflective of their values. Implications indicate the ways educational leaders need to collaboratively create empowerment models of parental involvement in order to change inequalities within school systems.

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