Few studies focus on the voices of students of color and their insight and recommendations for school leaders wishing to transform their schools into socially just and equitable institutions. This dissertation bridges the gap in the literature by giving voice to three Latina women who attended the same predominantly White high school within a ten-year period. The purpose of the study was to understand how the participants described their ethnic racial identity, and how they experienced schooling, within a predominantly White educational space. Further, the study offers concrete suggestions for school leaders wishing to transform their schools into culturally responsive institutions.
Narrative storytelling was the chosen methodology, with the expressed goal of honoring the participants’ lived experiences navigating a predominantly White educational system. Three in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant. By voicing their challenges, strengths, and resiliency, this study provides three counter-narratives through which educational leaders may come to better understand the needs of Latino/a students.
Key findings of this study included an examination of the exclusionary treatment experienced by the participants and an analysis of the ways in which these experiences impacted their ability to fully access or benefit from their education. Within each narrative, I grouped the participant experiences under two categories: Identity and School Experience. Themes and sub-themes emerged within each category. These were included to provide deeper, richer narratives. The theme of the critical role of family emerged under the first category, Identity. Under the second category of School Experience, three overarching themes emerged. These included the participants’ experiences of exclusion, support, and empowerment in school.
Within exclusion, the girls reported experiences related to racism and discrimination, dominant discourse/White privilege, institutional barriers, belonging, disengagement, discipline/unequal treatment, physical/emotional mistreatment, and silencing. Under support, sub-themes were identified around adult allyship, relationships with staff, and parental attitude toward education. Finally, within empowering experiences, the sub-theme voice—particularly the use of voice to speak out against inequities—emerged. The combined voices, told through the participant narratives, provide valuable insights for educational leaders wishing to reform their schools into more inclusive, socially just institutions.
|Commitee:||Favela, Alejandra, Lenssen, John|
|School:||Lewis and Clark College|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Counterstories, High School, Latino/a, Narrative, Resiliency, White Majority|
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