Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Julie McCann, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Michael Hollis, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Dan Shepherd, Ph.D.


barriers adjusting, social stressors, immigrant students, educational partnership, educational reforms, immigrant families, educational interventions


This qualitative ethnography case study examined perceptions of African immigrant families as it related to their children’s experiences in U.S. public schools. The primary research question that guided this study was, “What are African immigrant families’ perceptions of their children’s experiences in U.S. public schools?” This phenomenon was explored to uncover meanings African immigrant parents from Liberia attached to their children’s experiences in U.S. schools. The focus was on hearing stories the children told their parents about their experiences in U.S. public schools. Nonprobability sampling method was used to recruit participants. Eight families from Liberia, West Africa, were randomly selected to participate in the study. Questionnaire, one-on-one, face-to-face, semistructured interviews, and focus group sessions were used to gather data from participants. The findings are based on a thematic analysis of the data. The findings are based on these categories: challenges reported involving teachers, challenges reported involving peers (fellow students), parents’ responses and reactions, the schools’ response to the reported experiences, and meanings parents attached to the reported experiences. The findings are divided into these subsections: sociocultural stressors encountered by African immigrant students, cultural conflicts between U.S. schools and African immigrant families, role parental involvement played in minimizing sociocultural stressors to help immigrant children succeed in U.S. schools, and educators’ response to sociocultural stressors affecting African immigrant students. The study concludes with practical suggestions to enable African immigrant students adapt well in U.S. schools.

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