Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


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Published in Family Relations 55:3 (July 2006), pp. 390–402. Copyright 2006 by the National Council on Family Relations; published by Blackwell Publishing. Used by permission. “The definitive version is available at”


Nebraska’s rural school districts have a rapidly growing Spanish-speaking student body and few qualified instructors to meet their educational needs. This investigation examined factors that promote and challenge the ability of rural Nebraska paraprofessional educators to complete an online B.S. program in elementary education, with a K-12 English as a second language endorsement. Interviews focused on the interface between school, work, and family, with special attention on family system change and adaptation. Twenty-six bilingual paraprofessional educators enrolled (or formerly enrolled) in the education program were interviewed. Twenty were first- (n = 15) or second-generation (n = 5) immigrant Latino/as. Influences of program involvement on the marital and parent-child relationships are discussed, as are implications for future work with unique populations.