Assessing the Needs of Immigrant, Latino Families and Teachers in Rural Settings: Building Home-School Partnerships

Maria R. Coady, Thomas J. Coady, Abigail Nelson

Abstract


In this paper, we describe a school-home partnership project in a rural area of Florida.  While Florida is a state known as a destination point for immigrant Latinos, principally in large metropolitan areas of Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, immigrant families continue to settle in rural communities of the state.  However, rural settings, such as in north Florida, are exceptional in that there are few, if any, social services, and limited access to public transportation, health clinics, and English learning programs that foster the social integration of immigrant families.   

In this paper we describe how one project identified and responded to the local needs of immigrant Latino families in a rural school district.  We used nontraditional outreach methods to connect Latino immigrant families to schools. Findings show that “partnership-building” entails multiple layers of trust- and relationship-building, training, and serving in non-traditional ways in order to meet the needs of the population.

AUTHORS' NOTE: This article is dedicated to the memory of Thomas J. Coady (co-author), whose life and work touched the lives of countless immigrant families and children. August 2,1992-December 6, 2014.


Keywords


Latinos, immigrant, teacher education, parental involvement

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