Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Parental Involvement in Monolingual Spanish Speaking Communities (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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440P (WITHDRAWN) Parental Involvement in Monolingual Spanish Speaking Communities

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Alejandra Rodriguez, MSW, Student Intern, California State University, Fresno, Orosi, CA
Marissa Carrillo, MSW, Social Work Student, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
Melissa Cabrera, BSW, Student, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
Brianda Lemus, MSW, Student, California State University, Fresno, Visalia, CA
Cynthia Reyes, MSW, Student, California State University, Fresno, CA
Background/Purpose: As the immigrant population continues to increase in the U.S., the California Central Valley has become home to many immigrants from Mexico, and other Spanish speaking countries. While the number of Latinx/Hispanic students has risen in the last decade, their rates of academic failure are disproportionately higher than non-Hispanic Whites. Active parental involvement is linked to academic success; however, few studies have focused on the experience of monolingual Spanish speaking parents in the educational setting. This study presents the findings of an examination of the experiences of monolingual Spanish speaking parents’ interactions with school personnel.

Methods: Using a phenomenological approach, this study examined the narratives of 15 monolingual Spanish speaking parents residing in the San Joaquin Valley, who had at least one child in the public K-12 education system. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling.

Results: The analysis yielded several themes. First, monolingual Spanish speaking parents engaged in different manners within the home and school settings. Home-based engagement included providing for their children financially, a home, basic essentials, helping with homework, keeping a close relationship with their children, and guiding them through life using the medium of consejos. In the school setting, parents expressed participating by attending school events when they were invited and assisting when they were asked by staff. Second, factors that influenced or deterred parents’ involvement were being monolingual Spanish speaking, positive and negative experiences in the schools, and lack of consideration of their needs by school personnel. Parents reported feeling dismissed while in the presence of English-speaking parents. Monolingual speaking parents reported feeling more betrayal when Spanish speaking staff would also ignore their presence and dismiss their concerns. Lastly, parents also provided suggestions that could assist in meeting their needs, including conducting Spanish only meetings, hire friendlier Spanish speaking staff, having more interpreters readily available, and host meetings at later times of the day. The findings suggest that monolingual Spanish speaking parent’s interpretation of parental involvement is highly influenced by their experience in their native country and culture. In addition, monolingual Spanish speaking parents attest to knowing when school personnel were being genuine. This suggests that the way school staff present themselves and treats this parent population influences parents’ feelings of belongingness in the school system.

Conclusion/Implications: The information gathered by this study informs social workers of the current barriers faced by monolingual Spanish speaking parents. Thus, educators and social workers should be cognizant of the experiences and expressed barriers when seeking involvement from parents. This study helps to inform and promote innovative research to develop new strategies and approaches to assist the monolingual Spanish speaking parent community, ultimately, assisting school social workers in developing the tools to bridge some of the gaps and negative feelings parents have towards educational institutions in the US. School social workers can also assist in providing educators with tools or workshops to improve cultural awareness on their school campuses. Further implications for practice and research are discussed.