This explored parent engagement and community organizing in a Southern California community. The purpose of this exploration was to examine participants’ awareness of how community engagement and school committees affect Latino students in urban schools. Latino students in urban high schools with highly involved parents are more likely to achieve academic success and retention over the long term. This grounded theory methodological study examined participation and engagement, as well as what resources or changes could lead to further engagement. The focus group interviews took place in which community members participated in an open-ended interview. Twenty-six participants contributed to the data over the 2 focus groups. Eleven participants identified themselves as parents and 14 identified themselves as community members. A 3rd focus group was conducted for a member check, to present the themes to participants, and to ask for additional input. The final selective coding categories were time, policies and procedures, healthy schools, civic engagement, and gentrification. All participants felt bureaucracy and the school district’s rules and regulations were a roadblock for parents and community members. Time was an important issue for parents and community members. Participants noted that they wanted a healthy environment where their kids would be encouraged, loved, and respected. Many of the participants spoke about the need for more civic engagement and empowerment. Participants also saw gentrification as disrupting the fabric of the existing community. Six conclusions emerged from the analysis of the focus groups and the final selective coding categories. The conclusions were as follows: a connection exists between parent engagement and community organizing, Latino parents and community want to be active in children’s lives, school district rules and regulations can hinder parent and community engagement, parents want authentic communication and proper notice, community-based organizations are not working together in the community, and gentrification is a concern for community residents.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Hispanic American parents -- California -- Case studies; Education -- California -- Parent participation; Community development -- California -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Garcia-Ramos, Reyna;