ERIC Number: ED437454
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr-20
Reaching Out to Families from Diverse Backgrounds: A Case Study.
How schools can reach out to students and families from diverse cultural backgrounds was studied by examining the experiences of four families with students enrolled in a middle school in New York City. Also studied were families' perceptions of the school's efforts to reach out. The school's student body was 47% Latino and 34% African American, and 81% of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The staff was less diverse than the student body; eight of the nine full-time teachers were Caucasian. The school used interrelated approaches to reach out to students and their families. These included: (1) building a strong school community; (2) attending to students' personal and social needs; (3) emphasizing learning through experience; and (4) providing expanded learning opportunities, especially for students with learning disabilities. In spite of the good intentions of the school staff, the parents often perceived the efforts to reach out as inadequate or as not relevant to the students' cultural backgrounds. Many misunderstandings actually arose from the school's efforts to reach out. Perceptions of the success of school efforts were mediated by the families' expectations. (Contains 2 tables and 25 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).