Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Herencia y legado: Validating the linguistic strengths of English language learners via the LAUSD Seal of Biliteracy Awards Program
by Castro Santana, Alma Carina, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2014, 227; 3647114
Abstract (Summary)

A deficit orientation of English Language Leamer (ELL) Latino students permeates the climate at many schools across the state of California. School efforts to address the academic needs of ELL students emphasize disadvantages, and focus primarily on language remediation approaches. In turn, ELL students are submerged into a substandard curriculum that fails to capitalize on, and denies students access to, their cultural and linguistic strengths. In the Los Angeles schools, only 27% of EL students who began the ninth grade were eligible to graduate four years later. Latino ELL students are significantly academically challenged and struggle to meet high school graduation requirements; these students, by default, are not prepared for college. Reversing the desolate academic trajectories of Latino ELL students by validating and promoting their strengths as a foundation for learning was the impetus for this study.

This study documents student and staff perceptions of the implementation of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Seal ofBiliteracy Awards Program at one high school with a predominantly Latino student population. Guided by a conceptual framework utilizing the concepts of empowerment of minority students, community cultural wealth, funds of knowledge, and subtractive schooling, this qualitative case study examined the narratives of Latino ELL students and staff participants to gain an understanding oftheir perceptions about college access, the process of implementing the LAUSD Seal ofBiliteracy Awards program, and the purpose, value, and impact of the program on student achievement. The study included focus group interviews with 26 high school student participants, primarily female and mostly in the 12th grade, and individual interviews with six staff participants in various capacities with an educational experience ranging from five to 15 years.

The findings indicate that the LAUSD Seal ofBiliteracy Awards Program is active at the research site and is producing positive student social and academic impacts. School level impacts include an improved academic school climate and increased parent presence at school functions. In order to shift practice towards an "assets" schooling orientation, recommendations of this study call for a change in policy, converting a voluntary program into a mandatory program. Recommendations of this study urge educators to change current practices to ethically address the issue of evaluation of "transcripts" from foreign countries and to work with teachers to build capacity for additive schooling approaches. Furthermore, recommendations for practice suggest schools must provide all students equitable access to college information by establishing a college and career readiness pathways course that is also a graduation requirement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Reese, Leslie
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, English as a Second Language, Educational leadership
Keywords: Bilingualism, English language learners, Language policy, Second language acquisition
Publication Number: 3647114
ISBN: 978-1-321-36931-1
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