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Reported School Climate for Diversity and Feelings of Belonging for Latine Students: Moderation of Feelings of Belonging by Parent’s Academic Aspirations and Expectations

School belonging, the extent to which students feel accepted, respected, included, and supported by others in school (Goodnow, 1993), has been shown to impact children’s social-emotional well-being as early as elementary school (Castro-Kemp et al, 2019). Students with a higher sense of school belonging demonstrate more school engagement, and intrinsic motivation (Byrd & Chavous, 2011). A positive school climate, the emphasis placed on norms and values of race and interracial interaction in the school atmosphere (Green et al., 1988), has been shown to protect Latinx youth’s feelings of belonging by buffering the deleterious impacts associated with ethnic discrimination (Heikamp et al., 2020; Roche & Kuperminc, 2012). Additionally, parental aspirations and expectations can act as moderating factors on the student’s feelings of belonging (Vang et al., 2022).

The purpose of this study is to examine associations between teachers’ perceptions of school climate and 3rd-5th grade Latinx children’s school belonging. Previous research investigating Latinx students’ feelings of belonging and associations with school climate has focused on adolescent populations, therefore, this study will extend the literature by investigating these associations with children in middle childhood. We hypothesize that Latinx students will report more school belonging when teachers report a positive school climate compared to a negative school climate. Additionally, considering previous research has shown students’ parental involvement can protect minoritized students’ feelings of belonging, we predict that parental involvement will moderate the association between teachers’ perceptions of school climate and Latinx children’s school belonging.