The Influence of Ethnic Match on Latino School-Based Family Engagement

Kevin Mundt, Anne Gregory, Gigliana Melzi, Christine M. McWayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown that the school-based engagement of Latino families is lower compared with other racial and ethnic groups. One possible barrier to school-based engagement of this heterogeneous group of families might be the lack of cultural match between families and schools. Addressing this under-researched area, the current study examined ethnic match between Latino caregivers and teachers at seven Head Start centers in a large urban area in the Northeast. Participants were 294 Latino caregivers with children enrolled in Head Start programs and 37 Head Start teachers. Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), findings indicated that ethnic match (defined by whether a caregiver and the Head Start teacher both identified as Latino) was significantly associated with teacher-rated family engagement. Having a Latino teacher explained a significant amount of the variance in school-based family engagement, beyond that accounted for by caregiver and teacher education. Implications for Head Start’s recruitment and training of teachers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-185
Number of pages16
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 9 2015


  • Head Start
  • cultural competence
  • culture
  • ethnicity
  • family engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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