Date of Award

Spring 5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Jane Gangi, PhD

Second Advisor

Courtney Ryan Kelly, PhD

Third Advisor

Marsha Daria, PhD


This study presented a description of the social and cultural factors that contributed to the academic success of second grade Latina/o American students. The manner in which students whose primary Discourse differs from the dominant Discourse acquire the secondary Discourse of school is explained. This study views the school experience through the eyes of the children and acknowledged the courage that needs to be mustered in order to confront the multiple challenges that a Latina/o student faces each and every day of school. It is not only the different language but the implications of the new culture as well. The data from participant observation, student artifacts, and teacher interviews generated nine themes; five themes addressed the student behaviors of successful Latina/o successful students, two themes described teacher/adult behaviors, and two themes reflected adult/student conduct. The first five themes focused on student agency, sustaining remaining in the present moment, students envisioning their futures, metacognitive awareness, and student resourcefulness. Theme six and seven spoke to teachers being ambassadors of crossing borders between cultures and adults being supportive and sensitive to children. The last two themes dealt with communication through multiple pathways and reciprocal respect and positive relationships. The data gleaned from this investigation and the implications for practice factor into early intervention strategies for the enhancement of academic stratagems for young struggling Latina/o students.