Date of Award

12-17-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Frank Rossi

Abstract

Many minority families, including Hispanics/Latinos, have limited communication with educators, and it is not by coincidence. Teachers are not always educated on how to work with ELL families, or what strategies to use, in order to communicate and make positive connections with families. Minority families struggle to understand the American educational system, and feel ignored and marginalized because of their limited understanding and language abilities.

This researcher took a survey of about three hundred staff members at Monroe #1 BOCES, in order to find the barriers that impact school and ELL family communication the most. The language barrier, miscommunication, and the lack of parent education, or the perception of it, were the biggest concerns for educators. This researcher found that the way to engage parents is to make the school environment more diverse and inviting to different cultures. Inviting parents to lead and participate in school activities makes families feel like part of the school’s community, and having documents translated and interpreters available helps minimize miscommunications.

It is the researcher’s recommendation that all educators within BOCES be required to minimally take a basic professional development training in working with ELLs and their families. New hires should take the same training as part of the hiring process. All educators should have basic strategies for working with ELLs and their families, and should know what resources are available within BOCES to facilitate communication with families.

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