Creating Opportunities Via Education: A research partnership empowering parents

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

American Educational Research Association Annual Conference


Washington, D.C.

Conference Dates

April 8-12, 2016

Date of Presentation



Parents in the college-planning process is essential to increasing access for students from low-income communities in California. Using the action inquiry model, we explored how collaboration between a school district and a university empowered parents to engage in meaningful conversations and planning related to college access. This qualitative case study drew from three years of data gathered from the development and implementation of a college access program designed for underperforming middle and high school students; however, the partnership evolved over a six year period. In addition to discussing the findings, we will share how the partnership developed between the researchers, school site leaders, district leaders and family leaders. The mostly first-generation students and their families actively participated in conversations about planning for college. Findings suggested that community partners with whom the parents were familiar provided credibility and were essential to the success of the program. Implementing individualized strategies through interactive activities helped students and their families ask questions relevant to their situations. Further, as the strengths of each family were recognized and utilized parents were empowered to become knowledge producers and lead college-planning discussions with their children. The strength of this study lies in the consistency of the partnership with the middle and high school administrators, parents, and students.

This document is currently not available here.