Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Acevedo-Gil, Nancy


The pursuit of higher education has become a highly desirable aspiration for many children in the United States, yet majority of these children are not provided the opportunity to make this a reality. Research reveal Students of Color and lower socio-economic status are largely under-represented in institutions of postsecondary education (Camacho Liu, 2011; Choy, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, 2001). Latina/o students, in particular, continue to experience some of the lowest levels of educational attainment in this country. Education scholars contend that a college-going culture can help counteract the educational limitations experienced by working-class, Students of Color, and especially first-generation college students. Using a participatory action research approach, this study shows how an inclusive parental engagement framework can push research forward in understanding the experiences of an educational leader and Latina/o parents. As they collaborate to co-develop strategies to support college-going practices within an elementary school, parental engagement is key. Data collected from two focus group interviews were analyzed for salient themes and findings pertaining to parental engagement and practices supporting higher educational attainment for Latina/o students. These findings indicate Latina/o parents experience an increase of knowledge regarding higher educational opportunities for their children. Furthermore, when parents gained important knowledge about postsecondary education, this resulted in additional collaborative efforts. For example, the collaborative development of a survey instrument aimed to determine the varying levels of college knowledge needs experienced by parents of elementary school aged children. The objective is to critically understand the intent of developing and implementing college-going practices by an (1) educational administrator and Latina/o parents within an elementary school.