Masters Thesis

School-based counselors’ perceptions in working with Latinx youth in middle and high schools

The study focuses on the experiences of school counselors and outlines their perspectives on supporting first-generation Latinx students. The study examines the literature surrounding the perceptions on the roles, practices, challenges, and demands as they serve students and families. Several implications for research, practice, and policy are shared, as it relates to informing how counselors further support first-generation Latinx students and families. Students that enroll in college after high school face more challenges on the road to completing a bachelor’s degree because they incur more obstacles before entering the four-year colleges or universities such as the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) system (Fry & Lopez, 2012; Krogstad & Fry, 2014; Murphy & Murphy, 2018; Rodriguez & Oseguera, 2015; Sanchez, Usinger, & Thornton, 2015). The study employed an ecological framing of school counseling, in order to understand the roles, practices, challenges, and demands of the counselors. The middle school counselors expressed their roles focus more on socioemotional and behavioral issues (Adkins, Patterson, & White, 2019). The high school counselors expressed their roles focus more on academic issues and behavioral issues. The counselors identified valuable resources and community partnerships in their work with students. They identified challenges such as the language barrier, parents’ understanding of counseling, and documented generational status. Counselors expressed cultural considerations as it relates to socioeconomic status and help-seeking behaviors. Three of the five school counselors expressed that the students’ socioeconomic status had an impact on their motivation to obtain a college degree. Counselors identified that parents tend to focus on behavioral achievements rather than student academic performance. By the time the students enter high school, they tend to demonstrate appropriate classroom behavior but may not be as prepared academically. Elementary and middle school curriculum does not align with the expectations for high school achievement and obtaining a diploma. The students may be less equipped with the academic skill set to meet the criteria for graduation and postsecondary options.

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