Early College High Schools (ECHS), recent school reforms in the U.S., were designed as social justice, equity-oriented interventions to increase educational opportunity for students from traditionally marginalized and underserved groups. The purpose of this qualitative inquiry was to understand and examine the perceptions and experiences of eight Latina students, regarding their motivation and persistence in an ECHS. Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) framed the analyses. Findings demonstrated the students relied on several forms of CCW to support their motivation and persistence. However, observations and prolonged engagement in the ECHS setting revealed deficit perspectives held by some teachers and incidents of racist mocking occurring between some teachers and students. Resultantly, the students’ CCW was undermined as well as the school’s social justice imperative. Recommendations relevant to the early college context are provided.


Latinas, Community Cultural Wealth, Early College High Schools, Social Justice

Author Bio(s)

Leslie Ann Locke is an Assistant Professor in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Iowa. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: leslie-locke@uiowa.edu.

Gerri M. Maxwell is an Associate Professor in Educational Leadership and Chair of the Department of Teacher & Bilingual Education at Texas A&M University—Kingsville. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: gerri.maxwell@tamuk.edu.

Maria R. Tello is an Associate Professor in Developmental English at South Texas College. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mtello@southtexascollege.edu.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.