Adjusting to the growing impact of Latinos on Indiana public schools

Curtiss A Strietelmeier, Purdue University

Abstract

Over the last 15 years, the Latino population has expanded at a rapid pace in the United States. This national trend has been mirrored in Indiana. As a result, school districts within the state have developed structures and supports for the growing number of Latino students arriving in their schools. This study highlights some programs developed by Indiana school districts to help meet the needs of this quickly increasing minority.^ This study was completed as a qualitative look at what schools are doing in Indiana to support Latino students. Interviews were conducted with the superintendents and/or the head of ELL programming in 10 different school districts in Indiana. Districts that participated varied in sizes and locations. In each interview, the same scripted set of questions was utilized. The responses were recorded and answers were reviewed for consistency and differences among the districts. While there were some expected differences in programming, overall the districts seemed to follow similar paths in providing support for Latino students. ^ Findings of this study indicate that most districts in Indiana with a growing Latino population have developed some programming to meet the needs of these students. The most common support in place was the utilization of bilingual support staff to aid students. Other applications put into place include: (1) A class that focuses solely on how to speak English correctly; the class does not include a grammar or literature component. (2) The utilization of bilingual aides called collaborators that are paired with English Language Learners (ELL) students to provide specific help with translation between English and Spanish and aid the student with adapting to the procedures of American education. (3) An English as a New Language (ELL) only summer school program, which focused on helping students to develop a higher English literacy level. (4) Currently there is no evidence that would indicate that the number of Latino board members in Indiana has reached a significant enough level to exert a political influence on schools. (5) Currently there is no evidence that would indicate that the number of Latino school administrators has reached a significant enough number to impact school programming.^

Degree

Ph.D.

Advisors

William D. McInerney, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Multilingual|Education, Administration|Hispanic American Studies

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