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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
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The Connecting Hmong Perspectives Project:

Cultural Proficiency, School-
Community Relations, and Hmong Parental Involvement at Wolverine
Elementary in Anchorage, Alaska

A Thesis Project Submitted to the
Center for Cross Cultural Studies
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of

Master of Cross Cultural Studies
BY
Caleb Billmeier

Spring 2010

Master's Project (pdf)

ABSTRACT

This qualitative study superimposes how Hmong parents and teachers/administrators at an elementary school in Anchorage, Alaska perceive the educational framework for Hmong students and families. The inquiry was conducted during the fall of 2009 using interviews with 18 Anchorage School District (ASD) staff members at Wolverine Elementary, and a series of three focus group sessions with Hmong parents, conducted in Hmong and translated to English.

The findings indicate a clear lack of communication between the Hmong community and the school, and the accompanying struggle to involve and inform Hmong parents. Conflicts with work schedules and familial obligations, language barriers, lack of experience with formal education on behalf of Hmong parents, lack of cultural proficiency in the ASD, as well as Hmong parents’ unfamiliarity with the procedures of the schools, were identified as significant factors. Differing levels of commitment regarding the inclusion of Hmong culture and history in the curriculum also emerged. Furthermore, the ongoing effort to boost English language proficiency (ELP) in the community was highlighted, as well as the ability of a homogeneous staff to support and relate to a decidedly heterogeneous student body.

 

 

 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified May 7, 2010