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Excerpt: "With a growing number of Hispanic students in schools (Díaz-Rico & Weed, 2014; Oregon Department of Education, 2012), many educators wonder how to make the school community more accessible to Hispanic parents (González, Moll, & Amanti, 2005; Gorski & Pothini, 2014; Valdés, 1996; Wink, 2005). The dance group described in this chapter demonstrates a natural way in which one teacher has accomplished Hispanic parental accessibility and, in doing so, positively impacted her school community. Rosa Floyd, the director of Nellie Muir’s Dance Group, has been teaching in Spanish-English bilingual classrooms for more than nineteen years. She came from Mexico as an adult and learned English, becoming an instructional assistant and subsequently a teacher. She has chosen to work with Hispanic students and regards her work as a bridge between Mexican parents and schools. Bilingual and bicultural, Rosa understands the Mexican community as well as the Anglo-dominated school culture. For several years, she has efffectively facilitated cross-cultural relationships between parents and teachers through the use of traditional dance groups. The months of practice preparing for the Cinco de Mayo presentations provide a catalyst for change as the teachers and parents address the invisible barriers that have kept Hispanic parents separated from the school community. Rosa’s effforts have led to a more welcoming and respectful school environment that embraces Mexican parents and reinforces students’ sense of cultural identity and heritage pride."


Originally published as “Mexican Dance Group: Breaking Barriers One Tap at a Time,” in Emerging Issues and Trends in Education: International Race and Education Series (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press 2017).”

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