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La Familia and Other Secret Ingredients to Latinx Student Success

Jennifer M. Matos

Almost like a well-kept family recipe, there exists in education secret ingredients into what makes Latinx students successful. La Familia and Other Secret Ingredients to Latinx Student Success demonstrates how Latinx parents, a well-kept secret ingredient, assist with the academic success of Latinx students at all educational levels. Understanding the power of this secret ingredient—and how to use it—can have a profound impact on success for Latinxs students and can be used as a model for how to work with and support students from all marginalized groups. La Familia and Other Secret Ingredients to Latinx Student Success is suitable for educators at all levels. This book can be used in general education and teacher preparation courses, ethnic studies courses, training for individuals in helping professions, or to launch exciting new dialogue.

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Chapter 8. Latinx Parental Engagement: A Portrait in Two Puerto Rican Communities



Latinx Parental Engagement

A Portrait in Two Puerto Rican Communities

In the 2017 academic year, I worked with Mari Santiago and Daisy Rivera, two exceptional Puerto Rican students in Mount Holyoke College’s (MHC) Frances Perkins (FP) Scholars Program. The FP program, similar to the Ada Comstock Scholar program at Smith College and the Davis Scholars program at Wellesley College, supports “non-traditional” age students to earn their bachelor’s degrees. Mari and Daisy were exemplary students who were interested in my study, and they also were savvy networkers who had connections in the Holyoke, Massachusetts public school system.

Research Site One: Holyoke, Massachusetts

The City of Holyoke has the highest per capita population of Puerto Ricans anywhere in the country outside of the island. In 2017, the U.S. Census reported that Holyoke’s population was 40,341. Of that number, 51.2% identified as Hispanic or Latino, and 43.0% identified as white. Persons with a high school diploma ages 25 years and older was reported at 79.0% and persons with a bachelor’s degree or higher ages 25 and older measured at 24.1%. The median household income in dollars was $37,954, and 28.6% of Holyoke residents were reported to be living in poverty (←121 | 122→ My previous work as a Director of Middle and High School Programs at Girls Inc. of Holyoke required me to maintain close professional relationships with agency partners. Of those partnerships, schools were prominent, and I made...

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