The Alliance School Initiative: Building learning communities in the Texas borderlands

Timothy Justin Quezada, University of Texas at El Paso


This multi-site case study examines the relationships and interactions among school professionals, parents and a faith-based institution striving to create viable learning communities in the Texas Borderlands. Through a school-community partnership known as the Alliance School Initiative the two sample schools of this study collaborated with the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO), local faith-based institution, to enhance parental engagement with the school and to bridge the school to the community. Parent education and teacher professional development focusing on building learning communities in their schools are central to the Alliance School Initiative's goal of increased parental engagement. Parents and teachers received a wealth of information and training on a diverse spectrum of topics concerning school curriculum, instructional delivery, student learning, university preparation and community activism. Institutional venues, such as parent centers, parent educators and parent volunteer coordinators, are integral to the vision of the Alliance Schools. These institutional venues facilitated parent and community access to pertinent information about the instructional goals, curricular standards and overall vision of the schools in this study. Parent centers provided parents with an institutional base within the school, thereby legitimating their presence and role in the school. Parent educators and parent volunteer coordinators involved parents in a variety of school activities and engaged them in decisions that directly impacted the education of their children. This study sought to gain insights on the impact of the Alliance School Initiative as a conduit for parental engagement and the development of constructive school-community relationships. Qualitative research methods were used to collect and analyze study data. A central tenet of this study was the authentic representation of the voices and experiences of those involved with the Initiative. Open-ended interviews were conducted with parents, teachers and administrators who also collaborated with the researcher in the analysis of these interviews. Participant observations of Alliance School activities in the school and community took place during my yearlong doctoral internship at the sample schools. The findings of this study indicate that there are both bridges and borders to building learning communities in the Texas Borderlands. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Quezada, Timothy Justin, "The Alliance School Initiative: Building learning communities in the Texas borderlands" (2001). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3035101.