Innovative After School Program for At-Risk Latino Youth
Effective societal functioning is a function of multiple social, economic, cultural, and
environmental factors. Amongst these is the ability of individuals to engage actively in
economically rewarding activities. Indeed, healthy and productive individuals make massive
contributions to societal growth and development. In order to function well, individuals need
essential skills, knowledge, and expertise in different fields of specification. They assume these
through education programs that various institutions offer. Education programs instill in them
important knowledge that is also essential for harmonic co existence. During the mid years of
their schooling, youths experience various challenges that are potentially harmful. Inability to
address these challenges effectively prevents them from leading productive lives in future. The
fact that the adolescents are at risk of assuming unacceptable behavior cannot be disputed. After
school programs provide viable ways through which adolescents can spend their free time
engaging in productive activities.
During this phase of their lives, they have a compelling urge to make discoveries and
explore various issues. To ensure beneficial outcomes, the youth require guidance from adult
members of the society (Hirk & Day, 2011). The freedom that they have after their school
sessions allows them to explore various issues. In the process of exploration, they face various
challenges and problems. Through after school programs, youths receive guidance with regards
to how they can handle the challenges that they encounter. They also have a chance to exercise
creative and critical thinking through various opportunities. In the long run, they utilize these
extra hours to achieve academic excellence.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 3
However, for the programs to yield optimal outcomes, they need to be in line with the
specific needs of the target population (Hill, 2007). In this respect, it is worth appreciating that
the society is diverse and likewise, the adolescent populations have varied needs. With reference
to this study, the needs of the adolescents from the Latino community are complex and very
unique. Since they have a different social, economic, cultural and environmental background,
their demands with respect to creative programs differ from those of the White Population. In
order for this population to benefit from after school programs, the respective initiatives should
be reflective of their unique needs. It is against this background that this study develops an
innovative after school programs for at risk Latino youths. The program is all inclusive and
incorporates the entire needs of this population. The study begins by providing background
information about an ideal after school program for this population. Its literature review explores
the various qualities of a desirable and creative after school program for this population. Finally,
it offers a methodology through which it will achieve the research goals and objectives.
Background to the Study
Nationally, statistical evidence indicates that an estimated seven million youths do not
have sufficient supervision after official school hours (Armstrong & Schmidt, 2013). This data
further reveals that youth from moderate income families and those from very poor backgrounds
are the worst hit by this problem. The economic wellbeing of these families does not sustain
them accordingly. The adult members spend most of their time working and consequently, spare
very little time with children. Apart from economic needs, cultural and social issues also
contribute to this state of affairs. In this respect, adolescents from the Latino community face
various challenges. According to Zwerling (2007), two thirds of the unsupervised adolescents are
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 4
from racial backgrounds. Amongst this, a significant half belongs to the Latino community. This
facet of the population has unique needs that place them at risk.
Emerging research links the unsupervised time to poor academic performance, risky
behaviors such as drug use and abuse, gang acts, and possible victimization. From the point of
view of policy makers, the society faces immense losses that stem from this unsupervised time.
In order to address the problem, relevant parties have undertaken practical measures to develop
creative after school programs. Research evidence ascertains that these are instrumental in
reducing negative behaviors and improving positive outcomes particularly for vulnerable youths.
Specifically, “these structured pursuits enable them to interact positively with both adults and
peers, encourage them to take initiatives and make credible contributions to societal growth,
challenge them to engage actively in rewarding activities, engage them in tasks that enhance
their knowledge and skills, and give them opportunities to exercise their talents” (Hill, 2007).
Emergent research shows that after school programs have increasingly gained
prominence in the recent past. This implies that various stakeholders appreciate the fact that the
youth are at a very high risk of assuming socially unacceptable behaviors after school.
Seemingly, states, private institutions, the federal government, and localities have invested a
significant percentage of resources in these programs. Besides these institutions, working parents
and the local communities strongly support the initiatives. Most importantly, the adolescents
appreciate the importance of the projects to the holistic wellbeing. Indeed, it is certain that the
benefits of these programs are significant. In order to achieve optimal outputs however, Fashola
(2001) repeatedly insists that these programs need to address the specific needs of the clients.
Besides youths requiring a supportive and safe environment, they need close adult supervision.
In addition, an ideal program offers wide ranging growth enhancing opportunities.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 5
The respective experiences and activities should promote social, cultural, academic, and personal
growth of the affected population.
According to Niehaus, Biancarosa and Dechausay (2002), Latino student population is
the largest increasing nationally, yet it is also at the greatest risk of various negative academic
outcomes. Specifically, statistical evidence shows that these students experience the highest rates
of student school dropout. Besides harming the health of the individuals, this trend threatens
peaceful co existence of communities, and cost the government significant resources. In
particular, the trend compromises the quality of life that they are likely to lead in future. It
reduces their chances of securing well paying jobs and compels them to poverty and denies them
opportunities for attaining growth and development. This increases their vulnerability to social
problems because ultimately, they lack sufficient skills and knowledge to resolve the problems
that they face. Besides affecting Latino students negatively, increased incidences of school
dropout cost the country significant resources. Indeed, the resultant loss of income and other
social related losses are immense.
Apart from the unique challenges that these students struggle with, they also face normal
challenges that other adolescents grapple. During this phase of their lives, students in middle
school experience a variety of changes in both their social and physical lives. Ideally, the youths
experience various emotional and physical changes that have huge implications on their physical
and emotional wellbeing. In addition, it is at this time that they begin developing behaviors,
skills, and attitudes that are essential for shepherding them through high school into their college
education. Based on their vulnerability to school failure during this stage of their lives, it is vital
for intervention and prevention strategies to put in consideration the multifaceted nature of their
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 6
problems. During this point of their lives, Whitaker (2002) cites that the youths benefit
significantly from the support, guidance, and resources that after school programs provide.
Although school grades are important benchmarks for gauging the effectiveness of any
school program, it is important to consider the mental wellbeing of the students too. From a
psychological point of view, emotional stability instills in an individual a sense of confidence,
thus allowing the same to handle challenges with ease. Since the Latino youth experience a host
of challenges during this stage of their lives, it is important for intervention measures to be all
inclusive. In this regard, Hodge, Jackson and Vaughn (2010) posit that such programs should
empower the youth strongly and enable them to resolve the diverse problems that they encounter.
Most importantly, they should be in line with the transitions that this population is facing. Idyllic
programs aim at identifying their interests and enabling them to make sound decisions too.
Latino youth grapple various challenges that expose them to social problems. At risk
adolescents that engage in anti social behaviors are at a higher risk of dropping out of school and
assuming social unacceptable behaviors. Defiant behaviors such as drug use and abuse and gang
involvement have adverse effects on their overall wellbeing. Besides compromising their ability
to engage in meaningful employment in future, they compel them to poverty, endanger their
lives, and cost the government significant resources that would otherwise be employed for
improving the performance of important social spheres. Notably, such behaviors lack family
relationships, college awareness, school engagement, and community involvement.
Justification of the Study
As indicated earlier, education is essential for effective functioning of the society. At this
point, rising incidences of school dropout put the Latino youths at risk of failing to attain
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essential skills and knowledge that can enable them meet their present as well as future goals and
objectives. Seemingly, youths from the Latino community are the worst hit by this problem, yet
they constitute a significant percentage of the American population. Various studies focus on the
beneficial impacts of after school programs on the adolescents (Armstrong & Schmidt (2013);
Gavin, Catalano, David-Ferdon, Gloppen & Markham (2010); Roth & Brooks-gunn (2003). A
few place emphasis on the quality of the after school programs (Kirk & Day, 2011). Very few
studies focus on programs addressing the specific needs of the Latino youths. This study is vital
for providing additional resources to this particular field of study. By focusing on developing an
after school program that meets the needs of the Latino population, the study contributes
significantly to addressing the social problems that the society faces.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to create an innovative after school program for high school
Latino youth. The program seeks to provide them with important guidance and ultimately enable
them graduate from high school and transfer to college. It will enable the participants to achieve
higher self esteem, attain important social skills and establish and maintain sustainable family
relations. Interventions focus on instilling high expectations for success, college awareness,
awareness of job training, and active participation in community services. Generally, a
sustainable after school program for this population will encompass different levels including
community, familial, and individual levels.
This study will be guided by the following objectives:
1. Increase the proportion of Latino youth who graduate out of high school and continue
with their college education
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 8
2. Increase the proportion of Latino student who perceive their school work as important
3. Improve the academic performance of Latino adolescents by involving teachers in
4. Increase the involvement of Latino youths in out of school and extracurricular
activities by a significant 90 percent
5. Increase the involvement of parents in activities and events that their youth participate
This research will employ a case study during data collection. Specifically, participants
will be at risk Latino students attending East Side San Jose School District and a few
administrators. Since the research solely focuses on East Side San Jose School District, the
findings will be undermined by generalizations. Further, the author of the study will be the sole
researcher who will also be responsible for conducting and transcribing interviews. Additionally,
raw data will solely be evaluated by the primary researcher. In this regard, incidences of
subjectivity are likely to compound the research. The researcher will use convenience and
random purposeful sampling methods to select participants who are accessible. The first fifteen
participants will be selected by the preceding methodology by responding to recruitment e-mail
that will be sent by the researcher. After this, the study will employ snow ball sampling. The
initial participants of the study will be volunteers from different racial backgrounds. Although
the researcher incorporates persons form the Latino community, it is unlikely that the sample
will be representative
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 9
Definition of Terms
Latino: this constitutes individuals residing in the United States but whose nationality is of Latin
America. Latin America comprises of countries in North America and South America, including
the Caribbean Islands and Central America, and its inhabitants tend to speak romance languages
in addition to Native American languages. In this study, the term is restricted to youths of
immigrant families from Portuguese of Spanish speaking countries.
At risk: This refers to the students that do not experience academic success and who are potential
victims of school dropout. They lack confidence in their academic abilities and suffer from the
negative effects of low self esteem. According to Hill (2007), they come from families of low
socio-economic status, have minimal identification with learning institutions and hardly
participate in the school activities. Additionally, they exhibit impulsive behavioral conduct and
difficulties in establishing and maintaining lasting relations with their peers. Drug addictions,
familial problems, teen pregnancies, and other problems compromise their ability to participate
successfully in schooling.
Gang act: this refers to wide ranging criminal activities that are pursued by students sharing a
common purpose. They range from drug use and abuse to gun violence, drug trafficking, and
Neighborhood: The term refers to surroundings, immediate environments, or environments
within a vicinity of the school institution and/or residence.
Drop out: This means leaving a learning institution prematurely or failing to complete a certain
educational course. Factors that compel students to drop out of school include pregnancies, low
grades, peer influence, and poverty amongst others.
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Income: According to Fashola (2001), this is the total amount of money that one gets after
exchanging either goods or services. In addition, it may include the money that results from
Family support: This refers to “a set of activities and style of work that seek to reinforce informal
networks using integrated programs” (Lockwood, 2007).The programs combine voluntary,
community, statutory, and private services.
Self esteem: It means considering oneself as respectful, deserving, or worthy
Successful students: students of color who have abilities to navigate complex social network,
institutional bureaucracies of schools
Parent education: this constitutes a variety of support services, programs and resources that are
offered to care givers and parents in a bid to support and increase their confidence and capacities
with respect to caring for their children (Riggs & Greenberg, 2004).
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Chapter 2: Literature Review
The Latino youth experience various problems that undermine their ability to complete
high school. Indeed, their problems are multifaceted and require equally complex interventions.
Effective after school programs for this population should be all inclusive as well as objective.
This review begins by exploring three program frameworks that provide important insights
regarding an effective and creative plan for at risk Latino youth. Also, it explores the socio
cognitive theory in a bid to understand its contribution to positive behavioral change. Then, it
proceeds to evaluating various research contributions to this sphere of knowledge. Each theme in
this review contributes to a clear understanding of reasons that compromise the ability of the
Latino youth to complete their high school education, graduate and proceed smoothly with their
college education. By understanding the factors that hinder their progress, it will be easier to
formulate a supportive and effective intervention plan. Further, the themes offer useful insights
regarding the dimensions of an ideal framework that can be used to develop a workable after
school program for at risk Latino adolescents.
The review cites various factors that contribute to the underperformance of Latino youth
in the educational system. In particular, it underscores specific factors that lead to school dropout
and then proceeds to evaluating those that contribute to the development of a negative attitude
towards education by the Latino youth. It suggests research findings regarding viable ways
through which the Latino youth can overcome these challenges and adopt positive attitudes
towards education. It analyzes the contributions that educators make with respect to enhancing
the quality of the after school programs. Then, it evaluates the role of extracurricular activities
and beneficial effects of parental and communal involvement in an ideal program. According to
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Kirk and Day (2011), these dimensions are important aspects of an innovative and sustainable
framework that addresses the problem of school failure amongst the Latino youth.
In order to understand and appreciate the attributes of an ideal after school program,
Riggs and Greenberg (2004) suggest that evaluation of the related theoretical frameworks is
vitally important. The program frameworks that are related to this study include the Community
Toolbox (CTB), the Mobilize, Asses, Plan, Implement, Track (MAP-IT) framework, and the
Socio-Ecological Model (SEM). From a theoretical point of view, the prepositions of the Social
Cognitive Theory offer useful insights that can inform decision making. In addition, the
frameworks and theory offer important guidelines and theory driven practices that seek to
enhance communal relations. In addition, the resources offer guidelines and opportunities for
individuals to collaborate with key stakeholders in establishing, strengthening and sustaining,
individual, communal, and societal relationships. Most importantly, these frameworks are ideal
because they allow for establishment of program sustainability and evaluation (Whitaker, 2002).
The Community Tool Box is an empowering approach of initiating desirable change in
the community. It consists of twelve distinctive steps that guide the users accordingly. These are
evaluation of information regarding the factors affecting the populations, establishment of a clear
mission and vision, definition of operating mechanism as well as the organizational structure,
development of an ideal change model, development and use of action plans and strategies,
arrangement of community mobilizing groups, development of leadership, documentation and
utilization of feedback, implementation of viable intervention measures, documentation of
progress, accreditation of outcomes, and sustenance of the project (Hill, 2007).
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The Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track (MAP-IT) framework is vital for
developing healthy interventions for at risk populations. Every component of this framework
initiates some degree of change for affected populations. The Mobilize component seeks to
identify the members that are interested and willing to contribute in different ways to helping the
vulnerable population. It attains this by formulating an ideal mission and vision. Further, it
assigns participants specific responsibilities and urges them to pursue them accordingly. The
Assess factor deals with timely analysis and establishment of needs and priorities and identifies
resources that the project requires. Then, Plan deals with creation of a coherent model, definition
of the goals and objectives of the program, underscoring of ways of meeting the respective goals,
and highlighting of specific points at which effective interventions can be made. The Implement
aspect provides a step wise review of the tasks that need to be undertaken to make the project
operational. Finally, the Track aspect advises the intervention implementers to assess the
completed work and establish whether the constituent objectives have been met (Whitaker,
Then, the Socio Ecological Model (SEM) is effective for promoting peaceful coexistence
(Fashola, 2001). Structurally, the model comprises of four levels; the societal, community,
relationship, and individual. Factors at the individual level may constitute personal and
biological factors that undermine school retention. The relationship level comprises of social
interactions with families and friends that influence behavior in different ways. The community
level incorporates the complex environment such as schools, surrounding neighborhoods, or/and
other types of social settings. Finally, the societal level underscores the policies, culture, social
inequalities and/or normative social influence (Lockwood, 2007).
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Equally important for this study is the social cognitive theory model that provides
important information regarding human behavior. The theory postulates that human behavior is a
function of multiple influences of varied factors. Arguably, an individual learns certain
mannerisms through observation, symbolic communication, and experience. From a
psychological point of view, the theory argues that although the environment influences an
individual’s behavior; the individual has the ability to shape their environments and take charge
of their behavior. The theory puts forth five main constructs that it deems essential for explaining
First, the observational dimension believes that an individual learns behavior from a
secondary source through the process of peer modeling. Secondly, psychological determinants
are outcome oriented. According to Hill (2007), these encompass an individual’s perception
towards the results of a particular behavior. Environmental determinants are then useful for
motivating an individual and enabling the same to stay on course. Accordingly, positive and
negative rewards influence human behavior in different ways. In this respect, they enable the
vulnerable group to appreciate behavioral changes and assume desirable behaviors with ease.
Also worth mentioning is moral disengagement that occurs when an individual is taught about
harmful behaviors. Finally, the self regulation aspect entails assumption of external or internal
controls that seek to modify one’s behavior. Examples of these include social support, goal
setting, and self rewards amongst others.
According to Armstrong and Schmidt (2013), behavioral theories greatly inform
programs that aim at initiating behavior changes. In this regard, the constructs of the socio
cognitive theory will offer useful guidelines during the formulation of an ideal model. The
prepositions of this theory suggest suitable activities that can be used to address the malpractices
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that can have far reaching implications on school retention. Using this, the researcher establishes
the relationship between behavior and mediators of change. The choice of these frameworks was
informed by the recognition that unlike planning models, the frameworks focus on the
determination of communities and individuals to initiate meaningful change. In addition to
utilizing community resources, these frameworks encourage active participation. In this regard,
Whitaker (2002) contends that the frameworks are sustainable. The constructs of the behavioral
theory are equally imperative in addressing behavior related problems. They aid in influencing
behavioral changes positively.
Importance and Nature of After School Programs
In their review, the National Institute of Out of School and Wellesley Centers for Women
(2005) found that after school programs are useful for enabling the youth to cope with various
social, economic, cultural, and behavioral problems that compromise their entire wellbeing.
According to this study, these problems place them at risk of dropping out of school and
engaging in socially unacceptable behavior. Students that participate in after school programs
engage in various activities that enable them to enhance their academic and social performance.
In addition to participating actively in the extracurricular activities, such students get a chance to
attain additional assistance with their school work. Through the tutoring process, students
sharpen their academic skills and have a chance to review the work that they find difficult during
school hours. Furthermore, students attending such programs have an opportunity to participate
in classes that are not always offered during the school hours. At this point, it is worth
appreciating that some learning institutions do not offer certain classes due to lack of facilities. In
other cases, students might not simply have a chance to participate in the respective classes due
to personal reasons.
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In his review of the role of after school programs in enhancing sustainable growth and
development of adolescents, Lockwood (2007) established that these sessions enable students to
interact with their peers. According to him, this enhances their social skills, thus enabling them
to coexist well with their peers. In addition, the resulting social skills cushion them against the
negative implications of a wide range of social problems. For instance, students with these skills
are able to resolve various problems that they face during adolescence. Besides interacting with
peers, the programs provide for interaction with communities and staff. Through these sessions,
students attain help through mentor or peer modeling. Ideally, Zwerling (2007) indicates that
such programs are developed for the youth between the age of ten and eighteen years.
In their research, Armstrong and Schmidt (2013) explore the nature of various after
school programs. Their findings indicate that indeed, there are innumerable programs that seek to
address behavioral problems through counseling. According to this study, a significant
percentage of these programs engage academic support, mentoring, and community
participation. Programs such as the After School Arts Programs (ASAP) place significant
emphasis on the importance of creativity. However, Hill (2007) reviewed available programs and
established that there is no single program that is complex enough to accommodate all factors
that influence adolescence behavior.
In his review, Whitaker (2002) evaluated various programs in a bid to know their
effectiveness in addressing the problems of their clients. With regard to the Boston’s After
School Program, the study found that the main focus of this program is to provide the youth with
opportunities to learn as well as grow. Furthermore, the characteristic enabling environment
allows the participating youths to develop lasting sustainable relations. The negative aspects of
this program included excessive rules, limited space, outdated equipment, and lack of snacks and
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 17
food. With respect to the Check and Connect Program, Whitaker (2002) found that this program
addresses problems such as absenteeism and poor performance in academics. In addition, it
offers mentoring and counseling services and allows for student participation in community
based initiatives. Five longitudinal studies related to this program demonstrated that it has the
ability to address absenteeism, improve the behavior of the participants, enhance their language
skills, and improve their overall academic performance.
Whitaker (2002) also reviewed the Project COFFEE that deals with assisting youths
facing various problems. Besides different forms of counseling, the services that this program
provides are instrumental for empowering persons with disabilities. Likewise, longitudinal
studies that are related to this program indicated decreasing rate of school failure in the locale.
Finally, Whitaker (2002) evaluated the Intercultural Development Research Association Program
that suggests interventions and makes efforts to prevent development of defiant behaviors
amongst the youth (Whitaker, 2002). It is provided for low income students and aims at
improving learning, strengthening the relationships between parents, teachers, and students, and
providing a supportive environment for the affected youth. Certainly, After School Programs
play a leading role in improving the behavior of the youth and their academic performance.
Through this, the youths from varied social and economic backgrounds have a chance to use
their free time constructively.
In their research, Riggs and Greenberg (2004) found that participation of Latino youth in
after school programs had positive impacts on their academics. Characteristic skill development,
tutoring, and mentoring allow students to enhance their academic performance. Through this
additional time, students have an opportunity to review areas of study that they did not
understand during in school hours. The encouragement that they get from mentors and peers
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 18
triggers positive attitudes in their thought processes. This preposition is supported by Niehaus,
Rudasil and Adelson (2011) who found that the support that students got from such sessions had
a positive impact on their perception of math. Ultimately, it improved their performance in
subjects that they otherwise consider difficult. The positive attitude towards education enhances
their performance in other fields too. In this respect, Hill (2007) concludes that students who
perform well academically are unlikely to drop out of school. Through varied activities, the
students explore their abilities and enjoy the process of learning.
Factors that Prevent Latino Youth from Graduating out of High School and Continuing
with their College Education
In order to increase the retention of Latino students in school, it is important to
understand the factors that contribute to school drop out of this facet of the population. In his
research, Whitaker (2002) explored the factors that compel high school Latino students to leave
school. The study established that these include poor performance in academics, low parental
involvement in the education of the students, lower intelligence quotient, negative behavioral
concerns, and inability of students to adapt to the learning environment with ease. Clearly, these
factors are intricate and share an augmenting relationship. Roffman, Pagano and Hirsch (2001)
identified other factors to comprise of economic, social environment, emotional and
developmental issues and, physical and environmental problems. Certainly, the factors that
influence school dropout are multiple mental, physical, socioeconomic, and environmental
concerns. Conversely, Zwerling (2007) found that some environmental factors that enhance
student retention in high school include strong institutional policies and practices and small
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 19
In an effort to determine the implications of home environment and physical environment
on school failure amongst Latino populations, Stassenvitch, Stemmler, Shotwell and Wirth
(1998) examined the relationship between students and their parents. Findings of this study show
that students who stayed in learning institutions had a positive relationship with their parents as
compared to the school drop outs. The study concluded that when parents initiate and develop
close relations with their children at the initial stages of their education, such children are
unlikely to drop out of school. Another study found that there is a close relationship between
early developmental history of the students and school failure. The longitudinal research
undertaken by Diuriuk and Weissberg (2007) investigated various factors that predicted rates of
school dropout. These included mother-infant relations, parental sensitivity to the needs of the
children, socio economic status of the parents, parental involvement in school activities, and
early childhood care. These findings are consistent with the findings of other researches that
indicate that school failure is a lengthy process that takes place over time and is influenced by
In their review, Kuperminck, Darnell and Alvarez-Jemenez (2008) found that in addition
to the preceding factors, the cultural orientation of an individual also contributes to school failure
in different ways. In this regard, traditional instructional approaches can encourage students to
drop out of school. In this regard, a study undertaken by Noam et al (2002) found that students of
color are more likely to drop out of school than their White counterparts. According to this study,
some of the contributory factors include reinforcement of stereotypical biases that project low
academic expectations for the affected students. In most instances, cultural issues undermine the
overall performance of the youths from the Latino community. Further, minimal support from
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 20
their neighborhoods prevents them from completing high school (Cole & Distributed Literacy
In his research, Lockwood (2007) links the low academic achievement of Latino students
to developmental and cultural deficits that compound their socialization process. In this study, he
established that Latino parenting styles are overly authoritative. The perceptions that the
parenting style imparts in the children compromises their understanding of the differences
between institutional and home environments. Ultimately, it undermines the process of learning
by straining student-educator relations. Unlike their White counterparts, Latino students are less
aggressive and are more contend with the information that they receive from instructors. This
prevents the students from applying creative and critical thinking during problem resolution. In
addition, it frustrates their individual efforts to attain academic excellence. Undoubtedly, the
inconsistencies between their culture and educational demands compromise their ability to attain
The Perceptions of Latino Students towards Education
Education is an important aspect that enhances the performance of the populations in
different ways. Besides instilling in the students essential skills and knowledge, it builds their
capacities with respect to problem resolution and decision making. Most importantly, it shapes
their beliefs and practices to be in line with societal expectations. As indicated earlier, there are
various factors that contribute to the assumption of a negative attitude towards education by at
risk Latino adolescents. Negative perceptions towards learning contribute to increased incidences
of school failure. Seemingly, the entire society contributes to this state of affairs in different
ways. Specifically, the society perpetuates certain false beliefs against the academic performance
of students from the Latino community. In this regard, they are considered low performers who
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 21
lack the ability to resolve complex problems. In addition, the society sees them as individuals
who cannot perform well without external help. In other words, they are not aggressive enough
to fight their battles. The false presumptions regarding low performance of the Latino students in
education makes them to consider school unimportant.
In his study, Noam et al (2002) found that a significant percentage of Latino students
struggle with incidences of racism in school. This compromises their confidentiality and impacts
negatively on their personality. It prevents them from benefiting optimally from the resources
that the institutions offer. As a result, this makes them to develop negative attitudes towards
education and the process of learning. To address this concern, the author recommends a
conscious and explicit incorporation of the Latino culture in the respective programs. According
to him, this goes a long way in helping the adolescents to navigate the differences between the
culture at school, home, and within their neighborhoods. In addition, this strategy can enable
them to deal with the problems that stem from racism and peer pressure. Further, Noam et al
(2002) ascertains that the approach helps the youths to view their culture positively and respect
the cultural orientations of other students. Ultimately, they are able to coexist harmonically and
enjoy a positive educational experience.
The Role of Teachers in Latino After-School Programs
Fundamentally, the school environment contributes directly to incidences of school
dropout. Emergent research ascertains that the school environment influences student decisions
with respect to completing high school. According to the study undertaken by Riggs and
Greenberg (2004), students whose instructors are supportive are more likely to complete their
high school education than their counterparts whose teachers are unsupportive. The study states
that basically, students spend a significant period of time with their teachers. During relative
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 22
interactions, the two parties develop either positive or negative relations. The relations are strong
and influential in different ways. Thus, negative relations contribute to failure of the student in a
give class and vice versa. In all these interactions, teachers play the leading role of initiating
In his review, Fashola (2001) found that Latino students always look up to teachers as
their role models. Thus, in instances where teachers assume a cold, uninspiring, and uncaring
attitude, this harms the students. The study recommends that in order to assist students, teachers
must learn to initiate and establish personal relationships with the students, have very high
expectations of them, and challenge them intellectually. In addition, this study insists that
educators should pay special attention to the individual needs of the students from the Latino
community. Potential school drops suffer from feelings of alienation as well as marginalization.
Basically, they experience tormenting and destructive feelings. The fact that they have poor
interpersonal skills makes it difficult for these students to establish viable relations. Thus, they
cannot share the tormenting experiences with adults as well as their peers. From a psychological
point of view, the burden they bear is immense and has negative effects on their performance.
Fashola (2001) further advises that educators should adopt a student centered instruction
approach as opposed to other teacher centered approach. In this respect, a student centered
curriculum allows for power sharing in the classroom context. This positively impacts on
recreating social construction and empowering students. Further, it exposes them to real life
experiences and challenges them to use their abilities to resolve problems. Fashola (2001)
concludes that such an education system is liberating and frees the Latino students from
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 23
In their review of the influence of culture on the learning process of the Latino youth,
Cole and Distributed Literacy Consortium (2006) established that professional inclusion of
committed and professional Latino staff in educational programs yield desirable outcomes. The
staffs are well versed with the specific needs of the Latino youth and therefore best positioned to
understand the school, home, and community environments of this population. They understand
the cultural orientation of the problems that these youth struggle with. For this reason, they have
the ability to develop ideal behaviors as well as responses with respect to the unique experiences
that the youths struggle with. Put differently, the background understanding of the Latino culture
enables such staff to implement viable interventions in a timely manner.
Research evidence also shows that Latino youth greatly value their language and other
cultural elements. In his review, Zwerling (2007) found that bilingual and bicultural programs
are vitally important in enhancing the overall skills of the students. He recommended that these
elements be included in any program that aims at improving the academic wellbeing of students.
According to him, these components enable students to communicate effectively since they are
conversant with their culture, heritage, and language. In addition, it makes such students to
appreciate other cultures and boosts their self esteem.
Teachers play an elemental role in enabling students to pursue and complete their
education at different levels. In this case, teachers also help student with difficult tasks by
providing them with guidance. However, they should allow students to participate actively in
order to build their confidence in dealing with practical problems. Since a significant percentage
of school programs are homogeneous, after school programs offer the best opportunity for
teachers to pursue this good.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 24
The Importance of Extracurricular Activities
Basically, students that are connected to the school consider this environment to have a
positive impact in their lives. As a result, they prefer staying in school and completing their
courses. This has positive impacts on the education and life of the students in the sense that it
enables them to complete school and proceed to higher levels. For a significant number of
students, co curricular activities such as clubs, additional academic programs, and sports
strengthen their connection to learning institutions. The students consider such environments safe
havens due to various reasons. Basically, they do not have to worry about environmental safety
when engaging in such activities. Instead, they solely focus on the ‘enjoyment’ aspect of the
extracurricular activities. Thus, they develop positive attitudes towards the activities that they
perform best. Most importantly, the extracurricular activities enable students to engage in
socially acceptable roles in addition to increasing their popularity amongst both students and
teachers (Lockwood, 2007).
The National Institute of Out of School and Wellesley Centers for Women (2005)
establish a close relationship between student engagement in extracurricular activities and school
retention. In this respect, students that enjoy these activities are unlikely to drop out of school.
Statistics indicate that Latino students engaging in these activities develop a positive mentality as
well as a work ethic in their academic sphere. Through these activities, students also have a
chance to enhance their communication skills, receive individualized adult attention and build
and sustain different relationships. The characteristic support enables them to deal with different
challenges that they encounter at various stages of their lives.
Yet regardless of the preceding findings, research surveys show that the involvement of
Latino students in co curricular activities is very low. For instance, a survey undertaken by Noam
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 25
et al (2002) to determine the role of extracurricular activities to student performance found that
of the 500 participants, only 100 of these belonged to the Latino community. This
underrepresentation implies that Latino youths do not benefit from the extracurricular activities.
Partly, this explains why they experience difficulties in school and resort to dropping out. To
address this concern, the ideal program focuses on enhancing participation of the Latino youth in
the co curricular activities. Indirectly, improved enrollment in these activities ensures their
retention in learning institutions.
Parental and Communal Involvement in the Program
As indicated earlier, parental involvement in student education impacts positively on the
overall performance of such students. In their consultative review, Whitney, Renner, Pate and
Jacobs (2011) found that after school programs that involve parents promote academic
achievement of students from respective families. According to the study, such programs provide
the parents with important knowledge and skills regarding the wellbeing of their children. In
addition, they educate the parents about measures that they can undertake to enhance the
academic performance of their children. Through these programs the authors posit that parents
acknowledge the importance of extension staff in providing them with reliable and safe
In his research, Zwerling (2007) established that the participative nature of these
programs enhances their effectiveness in addressing the problems of the youth. In this regard, he
explains that the programs encourage collaboration between multiple stakeholders such as
parents, students, local communities, federal governments, and other state agencies. The
resources that these stakeholders pool together are significant. They empower both the parents
and students that struggle with financial difficulties.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 26
Notably, these programs are educative and therefore, sustainable. In their review of the
importance of parent involvement in such programs, Kirk and Day (2011) found that some
programs allow community partners and parents to participate in workshops. During these, they
are trained on the curriculum of ideal after school programs. After this, the participants commit
themselves to implementing the programs in deserving neighborhoods. Through related
activities, they gain sufficient knowledge and practical skills with respect to program facilitation.
With such knowledge, both parents and students are empowered to address the challenges that
Hodge et al (2010) ascertains that the preceding findings are true. In his study, he
established that successful afterschool programs for the Latino population actively involve the
parents of the affected children. This according to the study is attained by providing the
respective parents with vital information regarding child development, instruction of English
language, parenting skills, and tools and available community resources that they can use for
their benefit. The author recommends the abovementioned practices and insists that they creative
a conducive learning environment. Such an environment culminate in healthy child development,
boosts the self esteem of both parents and students, enhances the efficiency of parenting and
involves the parents in the educational development of their children.
Besides involving the parents, Whitaker (2002) found that idyllic programs for Latino
youths allow for communal participation and support. In this respect, communities collaborate
with families and learning institutions to help the children attain their goals and objectives. They
make important contributions in terms of financial resources as well as knowledge and skills.
Their participation encourage the youth and build a strong network that empowers the target
population and strengthens their will power. From a theoretical point of view, the youths tend to
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 27
perform well when they realize that adults are interested in their educational, personal, or long
term success. The positive response is triggered by a realization that the entire community cares
and it is interested in their accomplishments. Besides, the community guides, encourages, and
supports the students in times of need.
The complex problems that youths struggle with undermine their performance in
different ways. Youths from the Latino community experience various problems that prevent
them from completing schooling. In addition, these challenges influence them to drop out of
school and assume socially unacceptable behaviors. After school programs provide these youths
with an opportunity to address their social and educational problems with youth. As it has come
out from the literature review, it is important for the respective programs to incorporate
important elements that address the particular needs of these populations. Although the needs of
the Latino youth are complex, it is important to try as much as possible to incorporate all of them
in the ideal program.
Various program frameworks are important in understanding the dimensions or attributes
of a creative after school program for the Latino youth. Indeed, the SEM, MAP-IT and CBT are
sustainable approaches to formulating and implementing an ideal program for the affected
population. Furthermore, the social cognitive theory seeks to provide important information
regarding the behavioral dynamics of the Latino youth. Its constructs provide useful guidelines
with regards to specific activities that should be incorporated in the after school program. The
strong theoretical basis is vital for ensuring that the end program is sound and based on informed
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 28
From the preceding themes, it is apparent that the problems of the Latino youth require
complex interventions. A review of the programs ascertains that no single program can address
the adolescent issues conclusively. This can be explained by the recognition that the respective
problems are complex as well as dynamic. This information provides the basement upon which a
credible intervention framework can be developed. Apart from differing cultural values, at risk
Latino youths suffer from low self esteem and struggle with constant disempowerment. As a
result, they resort to socially disabling behaviors such as drug use, gang acts, and so forth. An
innovative and effective program needs to put in consideration the preceding factors. Essentially,
it should aim at addressing most of the problems that the Latino youth face in a sustainable
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 29
Chapter 3: Methodology
The purpose of this study is to develop a creative after school program for at risk Latino
students in high school. The program will be useful for guiding the youths and enabling them to
graduate from high school and proceed with their college education. Also, the program will be
vital in instilling a sense of high self esteem in the students and helping them to develop essential
social skills. These are imperative for developing and sustaining lasting sustainable relationships.
Most importantly, the intervention will instill high expectations for success, college awareness,
employment awareness and community services in the students. In essence, the program will
enable the Latino students to complete their schooling by providing them with relevant
resources. The help that the program will offer will be multifaceted constituting of financial and
material resources. Most importantly, the program will focus on capacity building of all the
stakeholders. This is a sustainable approach to addressing the problems that these youth struggle
In order to formulate a creative program that will address the entire concerns of this
population, the study places emphasis on the desirable characteristics of a model after school
program. Thus the research questions revolve around factors that contribute to school dropout
incidences amongst the Latino students. Notably, these factors contribute directly to school
failure and prevent the youths from graduating from high school. In addition, it evaluates
measures that can be undertaken to enhance the perception of Latino students towards education,
the role of teachers in enhancing the education of students, involvement of the Latino students in
extracurricular activities, and ways of increasing parent and community participation in the
program. The literature review ascertains that an innovative and effective program for this
particular population is reflective of the preceding factors.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 30
Fundamentally, the research will be a collective case study and the participants will
solely belong to the East Side San Jose School District. They will be students from the Latino
community attending this learning institution and aged between eleven and sixteen years. In
addition, part of the students will not be enrolled in any after school program. Also, the study
will include up to ten administrators working for the institution as educators. Specifically, these
will be educators who have participated actively in after school programs previously. The
purpose of this study will be to identify important aspects that constitute an innovative after
school program for at risk Latino youths.
The researcher opts for the qualitative approach to this study because of the interest in
exploring the perceptions of the Latino students towards after school programs and relative
attributes. This methodology provides in depth information regarding the importance and
contribution of all stakeholders to the effectiveness of an ideal innovative plan. In addition, the
researcher will certainly understand the mental constructs of the Latino youth regarding the
importance of after school programs. Specifically, the researcher is interested in finding out the
perceptions of students with regards to an ideal program. Based on the findings, the researcher
will proceed to formulating a program that addresses these concerns.
In light of research, a collective case study requires the researcher to identify a single
concern and then select multiple cases and use them to illustrate the specific concern (Creswell,
2013). This research develops an ideal after school program for Latino youth. To ensure that the
program is innovative and creative, it relies on information regarding the factors that prevent
these youth from participating in such programs, the roles of parents, teachers and the
community and the importance of extracurricular activities. The researcher will then use the
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 31
findings to develop a credible after school program that addresses the specific problems of the
Latino youth. This will enable the researcher to meet the goals as well as objectives of the study.
The research will be conducted at East Side San Jose School district that has students
from diverse social, economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. Participants will be students
between sixth and ninth grade as well as a few administrators from this institution. All the
interviews will be conducted on the school district compound, either in the library or in the union
hall. All the interviewees will be expected to choose locations or surroundings that they are
familiar and comfortable with. The interview sessions will be audio taped, reviewed, and then
For this study, the researcher will employ convenience and purposive sampling to
identify Latino students between the sixth and ninth grade attending the East Side San Jose
School District. Purposeful sampling enables the researcher to identify and choose sites and
participants because these have a good understanding of the problem of the particular study. On
the other hand, convenience sampling gives the researcher a chance to include in the study data
and participants that can be accessed easily. Twenty Latino students between sixth and ninth
grade will be identified for interviewing. Amongst these, ten will need to be attending an after
school program or to have attended one previously. The sample will consist of twelve males and
eight females and will feature fourteen students from the school district neighborhood and six
from out of the school neighborhood in order to vary the perspectives.
With regards to administrators, the researcher will use purposive sampling to pick ten
administrators that are conversant with after school programs. This will constitute of five male
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 32
educators and five female teachers. To ensure cultural representation, six of the administrators
will come from the afflicted community. This diversity is important in order to understand the
problem from the point of view of the Latino community.
With respect to recruitment, the researcher will begin by conducting the respondents
through electronic mail. The mail will be send to the head of the school district asking students
who are in the preceding grades and who are interested in the research to reply to the research
and express their interest accordingly. Upon getting the replies, the researcher will proceed with
the selection of suitable participants. Likewise, teachers will be contacted through the
administrators’ mail and interested participants requested to reply to the mail accordingly. The
remaining respondents will then be contacted by the initial participants through snow ball
Data Collection and Instrumentation
The chief investigator will undertake interviews on the school compound of the East Side
San Jose School district in the school’s union hall. The fact that students are familiar with the
surroundings makes this an ideal location to undertake the interviews because it eases tension.
With regards to timing, it is expected that each session will last for about thirty minutes. Before
the interview begins, the researcher will request the respondent to consent to the session by
signing appropriate forms. Additionally, each participant will be expected to pick a pseudonym
that will be important for concealing his or her identity. Further, the investigator will refer to the
participants using this pseudonym as opposed to their actual names. At this point, it would be
important to inform the respondents that they are free to stop the interview whenever they feel
uncomfortable. After completing the interviews, the researcher will be responsible for
transcribing the audio recordings of all the interviews.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 33
The researcher classifies the interview questions in three distinctive categories. The first
set of questions will focus on the reasons that compel the Latino youth to quit schooling. This
will incorporate specific social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors that prevent
Latino students from completing high school. Then the following set of questions will revolve
around the issue of participation. Finally, the third set of questions will address the activities that
can ensure that at risk Latino adolescents benefit the most from the after school programs. These
classes will provide vital information regarding the characteristics of an ideal and innovative
after school program for the Latino youth. In addition to various follow up questions, participants
will be required to answer a total of sixteen questions.
The researcher chose to use semi structured interviews because they allow for use of key
questions to collect important information to support the formulation of a desirable after school
program. This protocol is also flexible and enables the researcher to ask probing and follow up
questions in instances where additional information is required. After transcribing the audio
recorded information, the transcripts will be sent back to each responded for member checking.
Data analysis will include organization of the respective data, conducting initial read
through of transcripts, organization of themes, coding, establishment of the most ideal ways of
presenting the data, and development of accurate interpretation (Creswell, 2013). The researcher
will take time to read through the interviews and analyze them before coding. Fundamentally,
the process of analysis seeks to identify important information within the collected data that best
answer the research question. With respect to coding, the researcher will review the transcripts in
a bid to identify key data that is both relevant and meaningful to the study questions. The
investigator will allocate codes that best describe the information. According to research, the
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 34
codes can represent different categories of information, ranging from anticipated information to
conceptually interesting, unanticipated, or unusual information.
According to Creswell (2013), qualitative research uses for main guidelines to formulate
categories during the process of coding. To begin with, the frequency at which a given topic
emerges or the number of times the respondents mention something is a critical dimension. Then,
the audience perceives the categories differently depending on the meanings that they
individually accord the information. Thirdly, researchers need to retain all unique categories
(Creswell, 2013). Finally, some categories may generate knowledge aspects that are not
identified by the study or cite new perspectives to the research problem. After the researcher
identifying the categories, these will be grouped in five main classes. The characteristic recurring
themes will be derived from the transcripts and will be useful for the findings segment of this
research. After organizing and coding the transcripts in major categories, it will be imperative for
the chief investigator to re evaluate them in order to identify the recurring themes.
Reliability and Validity
Issues related to validity or reliability of any research contribute significantly to its
credibility. In this regard, the researcher needs to put in consideration these important factors
during the research design, analysis of results, and determination of the quality of the respective
study. To ensure validity, the investigator will allow the respondents to recheck the transcripts
and ascertain that information contained therein is true and accurate. Further, after recording and
transcribing, the researcher will email copies to participants for verification. This will be in a bid
to ensure that the findings are trust worthy and accurate. Further, participants will be allowed to
evaluate the themes that will be employed for coding. Further, an external auditor will be given a
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 35
chance to review all the transcripts in order to ensure that they are accurate and in line with key
findings presented by raw data.
In light of this study, ethical considerations will include ensuring that the research
respondents are given adequate protection. Creswell (2013) ascertains that research participants
do not have the capacity to protect themselves. One of the main roles of the researcher in this
respect is to protect the participants. Through intelligence, empathy, intuition, and experience,
the researcher should identify security concerns in a timely manner and respond effectively. In
this regard, the dangers are likely to encompass humiliation, exposure, loss of respect, and/or
embarrassment. Also worth appreciating is the recognition that the ethical conduct of research is
not solely depended on the consent forms that the respondents sign. Rather, it is a deliberative
and cautious undertaking that researchers commit themselves to accomplishing. Although the
current research presents minimal security risks, the researcher will still take measures to ensure
the safety of the interviewees.
To begin with, the researcher will use pseudonyms and refrain from identifying the
respondents by their actual names. Before beginning the interview, the researcher will take time
to explain to the interviewees the process and request for their consent before proceeding. This
will be put in writing by signing. The interviewees will be informed about their voluntary
contribution to this research. Essentially, they will be informed that they have a right to quit
whenever they feel uncomfortable. In addition, the interviews will be conducted in a quiet room,
away from the busy classrooms. In the case of student participants, the instructors will not be
allowed in the interview room during the session this will be vital for guarding against coercion.
In this respect, it is worth noting that coercion undermines the quality of the results of any
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 36
research in different ways. Just like the students, educators will also be allowed to attend the
sessions in comfortable and familiar surroundings. Finally, the researcher will destroy the
materials used in the study immediately after completing the analysis.
The study develops a creative after school program for at risk Latino students in high
school. Its purpose is to enhance their involvement at the individual, institutional, familial, and
communal levels. Essentially, it provides guidance for the students and enables them to graduate
to high school as well as establish and maintain viable relations. Thus, it seeks to underscore the
attributes of a program that would achieve the preceding goals and objectives. The research will
be guided by its objectives that also inform the research questions. With regards to the research
design, it is a case study that focuses on the East Side San Jose School District. The participants
will be recruited in the study using convenient and purposive sampling. This will enable the
researcher to attain important information for the study, from relevant individuals, and within the
stipulated period of time.
The researcher will collect data through audio recording and later transcribe it
accordingly. After transcription, the researcher will give participants a chance to review copies
and verify them. In addition, the researcher will invite an external auditor to review the
transcriptions and ensure that the information contained therein is consistent with that of the raw
data. This will ensure confidentiality and prevent third parties from accessing this sensitive
information. Some of the ethical issues that the researcher will put in consideration pertain to
concealing the identity of the respondents, ensuring that interviewees sign the consent form prior
to the interview session, and taking practical measures to prevent coercion during the session.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 37
Furthermore, the researcher will ensure that participants are not compelled; rather they volunteer
the information freely.
INNOVATIVE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM 38
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