Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Education for Social Justice

Dissertation Committee

Reyes Quezada, EdD, Chair Margarita Machado-Casas, PhD, Member


Transfronterizx, Transfronterizo/a, Transfronterizx Critical Theory, Public Schools, Educators, Students, Social Justice, Intersectionality, Identity, Duality, CCW, CRT, CRT in Education, Parent Engagement, Humanization, Border, Parentocracy, Qualitative, Narrative Inquiry


Transfronterizx students and their families cross the U.S.–Mexico border for academic, economic, social, cultural, and linguistic reasons. Socioeconomic disparities, deportation, and work have propelled some families to live in Mexico and enroll their U.S.-born children in U.S. schools to provide more socioeconomic opportunities in the United States. Educators of transfronterizx students are uniquely tasked to work with these nontraditional students. Moreover, transfronterizx students and their families have distinct needs in U.S. schools; as such, there is a need for further research on the transfronterizx experience in the U.S. K–12 system. This qualitative narrative inquiry study aimed to understand the experiences of transfronterizx public school students, families, and educators of transfronterizx to understand the impact of being transfronterizx on school engagement to uncover strategies that support and foster effective engagement.

Through qualitative analysis, I uncovered the following key findings: district and school policies validate the experiences of people of color; transfronterizx students embody their community cultural wealth, including endurance and sacrifice wealth; and educators demonstrate a commitment to social justice through humanizing practices. Key themes included the following: fear is endemic among transfronterizx, the intersectionality of global north and south shape their experiences and interactions with the educational and sociopolitical systems, and the duality of transfronterizx identity. From these findings, I delineated recommendations for the multilevel systems that impact transfronterizx. Finally, I introduce a new theoretical framework, Transfronterizx Critical Theory (TfxCrt), to provide a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the intersecting dynamics of transfronterizx while advancing critical perspectives.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Learning and Teaching