ERIC Number: EJ1045853
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 20
Supporting Latino Families in Special Education through Community Agency-School Partnerships
Aceves, Terese C.
Multicultural Education, v21 n3-4 p45-50 Spr-Sum 2014
Developing family and school partnerships can improve school curriculum, increase parents' skills, improve student outcomes, and assist teachers to support their students in the classroom. For almost four decades in the United States, the importance of establishing healthy partnerships with families has been critical to improving the education of children and youth with disabilities. In this study, a non-profit, community-based parent agency, in collaboration with a large urban school district in the western United States, developed and implemented a parent-training program in six school sites for primarily low-income, Latino families whose children received special education services. Six workshops were conducted over a two-month period at each school site during the 2011-2012 academic year. Sessions lasted approximately two-hours each and covered content related to: understanding special education programs, services and supports; communicating and working collaboratively with school personnel; learning to use strategies to improve behavior and social skills at home; and accessing community services. Sessions were conducted in Spanish by professional trainers from the district office and local community agencies. Community agency staff, who were parents themselves of a child with a disability, facilitated sessions and periodically served as session speakers. School staff members knowledgeable of special education services were also involved in program implementation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the parent trainings by measuring parents' improvement in the program's objectives, in addition to investigating the community agency's collaboration with schools. The parent training program was implemented at six sites: two elementary schools, one middle school, two high schools, and one special education center. After completing the program across the six school sites, a total of 190 parents attended the parent training classes. The project developed and administered brief pre- and post-surveys to participating parents at each school during the first and last day of training. In conclusion, parents who have a child with a disability face multiple challenges when attempting to support their child's academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Low-income, Latino families have additional obstacles that further complicate their ability to support their child's success, including lack of information regarding services and access to materials in their primary language.
Descriptors: Hispanic Americans, Special Education, School Community Relationship, Partnerships in Education, Family School Relationship, Urban Schools, Parent Education, Low Income Groups, Workshops, Spanish Speaking, Community Programs, Agency Cooperation, Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Special Schools, Pretests Posttests, Parent Surveys, Barriers, Interviews, Program Effectiveness, Knowledge Level
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A