The topic of this Obermann Working Group is to work collectively with scholars from various fields, K12 practitioners, and community members to develop a study utilizing photovoice with Latinx high school populations in Iowa.
Studies point out that students’ subjective experiences in schools are critical in predicting academic outcomes. Although there is a considerable body of research that addresses the experiences of Latinx students in K12 public schools, much of this work does not represent communities undergoing recent population change, such as those within the state of Iowa. However, the available research does suggest that Latinx high school students experience marginalization within their schools, with school climate and belonging being central to those experiences.
We intend to design a project that will utilize photovoice, a qualitative methodology grounded in community-based participatory research, to illuminate the educational experiences of Latinx high school students in rural Iowa K12 schools. Further, an additional goal is to make visible the concerns and lives of Latinx students in rural Iowa. Specifically, through the study we will engage high school students from multiple rural, and predominantly Latinx communities in Iowa to elicit meaningful photographs and narratives that will inform critical dialogue about emerging issues in educational practices in diverse Iowa schools. We plan to communicate our findings to the entire community, including educators and policy-makers through: a) a photography exhibit and community forum, b) a technical report with policy recommendations that reflect the overarching themes of the qualitative findings, and c) a custom-built website that will extend the visual and content function of the community forum and provide schools with resources and impetus for change. This project will also result in submission of research, conceptual, and visual scholarly products in our respective fields of educational policy and leadership, school counseling, and graphic design.