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College of Education

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Empowering Change through Family-School Partnerships

Researchers: Lenny Sanchez, Yang Wang, and Eurydice Bauer 

Background & Objectives 

Although students who attend dual immersion language programs rely on the school to further their academic and language skills, we recognize parents also possess vital epistemic knowledge that contributes to students’ success in schools. However, there are very few reported studies in dual immersion programs that examine the parental dimension of school engagement and enrichment (See Bauer, 2015). In addition, despite increased interests in schools implementing globally-minded curriculum, there is little empirical research that investigates how schools build bridges to families to include parents in the schools’ development of students as global leaders. This study contributes to addressing both of these research gaps - family engagement in dual immersion schools and family engagement in global leadership initiatives – through creating and implementing various family-school initiatives at an elementary school in the Mid-Atlantic region. Thus, our project will enhance research scholarship and contribute to the school’s growing dual immersion programs and its school-wide goals of global leadership and project-based teaching through our efforts to: support existing and increase family literacy practices in the home, foster links between the school’s mission of global leadership and biliteracy to family’s situated knowledges, facilitate links between family literacy practices and teachers’ classroom practices; and expand research on various dimensions of family-school partnerships. These efforts directly align with the district’s missions of providing high-quality education and fostering students’ world-class skills as well as the school’s magnet goals of enhancing biliteracy, language immersion, and global leadership.  


What Underlies Success in Spanish Dual-Language Programs? An Investigation on the Interplay between Family and School Contexts

Researchers: Cecilia Cheung (UCR), Eurydice Bauer (USC), Daniele Delaney (UCR)

Background & Objectives 

Recent research has shed light on the importance of sociocultural context (Alamillo, Yun, Bennett, 2016; Edwards, 1998; Paris, 2012) on biliteracy development. In particular, the dynamic and mutual influences among key stakeholders – including parents, teachers, and the developing child – have been postulated to create additive effects that shape children’s acquisition and maintenance of biliterary competence. There is evidence that, at least in dual-language programs, children benefit through excising free choice in using their preferred language when interacting with other children and teachers (Alamillo et al., 2016). In addition, when children are allowed to use two languages (e.g., Spanish and English) interchangeably as they navigate the learning environment, they tend to be more expressive and engaged in the activities (August, Goldenberg, & Rueda, 2010).  

The proposed research used a mixed method approach to understand the interplay between the family and school environments in a Spanish dual-language program. The research was conducted in a bilingual preschool in the mid-Atlantic region. In 2016, the preschool served 101 Latino children in 2015-16. Most families of students spoke primarily Spanish at home.  Most parents (71%) were highly engaged in their children’s education according to indicators such as attending conferences, chaperoning field trips, and children’s school attendance. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.