Date of Award

2017

First Advisor

Francisca Oyogoa

Second Advisor

Mileta Roe

Abstract

This thesis is an exploration of Spanish-speaking students and their families in the public school system of Massachusetts. Starting broadly with an overview of immigration history and language policy at the national level, I then narrow my focus to three Massachusetts high schools: East Boston High School, Springfield High School, and Lowell High School. By examining town demographics and achievement trends in conjunction with the town histories, I demonstrate that Spanish is an important language to take into account when writing state and national language policy and creating educational resources for parents (forms, students handbooks, etc.). I finish with several suggestions as to how schools might be able to improve their practices and the broader system.

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