From 2007-2012 at Hubble Elementary School, located in Southern California, there has been a consistent population of approximately 50% English Language Learners (ELLs). Parents of the ELL students present a challenge because schools have a hard time engaging them in school activities and in the decision-making processes. The purpose of this phenomenological study was twofold: (a) to explore the perception of Latino parents of ELLs regarding the concept of parent engagement and (b) to examine the best practices related to parent engagement and major barriers that prevented them from being active participants in school activities and decision making processes at Hubble Elementary School. The research focused on 3 core questions: 1. How do parents at Hubble Elementary School define parent engagement? 2. What do parents of ELL students at Hubble Elementary School perceive to be the most meaningful and encouraging best practices to elicit comprehensive parental engagement? 3. What do parents of ELL students at Hubble Elementary School perceive to be the barriers that prevent them from becoming engaged in the total school environment? This study used a phenomenological research design to collect and analyze data through the use of focus group interviews. This data allowed the researcher to identify Latino parent experiences. Finally, the researcher also collected and analyzed school artifacts such as newsletters and announcements from the school to examine the ways in which the school communicated with parents. Parents defined parent engagement as the act of being present in the classroom, in the school, and at parent meetings. Parents of ELLs viewed best practices for engagement as stemming from strong relationships among the principal, the teachers, and the parents. Parents in this study wanted the school community to be like a family, and expressed the need to feel connected with the school. Parents perceived lack of information, communication, and parent activities as barriers that prevented them from being engaged in their children's school. This study revealed that parent engagement for parents of ELLs does happen when the school establishes the infrastructure needed to initiate and nurture parent engagement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Education -- Parent participation; English language -- Study and teaching (Elementary) -- Foreign speakers

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Garcia-Ramos, Reyna;