The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 71–86 | Cite as

They Just Respect You for Who You Are: Contributors to Educator Positive Youth Development Promotion for Somali, Latino, and Hmong Students

  • Michele L. Allen
  • Maira Rosas-Lee
  • Luis Ortega
  • Mikow Hang
  • Shannon Pergament
  • Rebekah Pratt
Original Paper


Youth from immigrant communities may experience barriers to connecting with schools and teachers, potentially undermining academic achievement and healthy youth development. This qualitative study aimed to understand how educators serving Somali, Latino, and Hmong (SLH) youth can best promote educator–student connectedness and positive youth development, by exploring the perspectives of teachers, youth workers, and SLH youth, using a community based participatory research approach. We conducted four focus groups with teachers, 18 key informant interviews with adults working with SLH youth, and nine focus groups with SLH middle and high school students. Four themes emerged regarding facilitators to educators promoting positive youth development in schools: (1) an authoritative teaching approach where teachers hold high expectations for student behavior and achievement, (2) building trusting educator–student relationships, (3) conveying respect for students as individuals, and (4) a school infrastructure characterized by a supportive and inclusive environment. Findings suggest a set of skills and educator–student interactions that may promote positive youth development and increase student-educator connectedness for SLH youth in public schools.


Resilience Adolescence School connectedness Qualitative research Community based participatory research 



Research reported in this publication was supported by National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under award number R24MD007966. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Additional funding came from the University of Minnesota Clinical Translational Science Institute Planning Grant # CTSI 15673, and the University of Minnesota Program in Health Disparities Research Planning Grant # 2010-004. Portions of this work were presented at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) national meeting in 2012 and the Society for Adolescent Health (SAHM) national meeting in 2012.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele L. Allen
    • 1
  • Maira Rosas-Lee
    • 2
    • 3
  • Luis Ortega
    • 3
  • Mikow Hang
    • 3
    • 4
  • Shannon Pergament
    • 3
  • Rebekah Pratt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Program in Health Disparities ResearchUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Organizational Leadership, Policy, and DevelopmentUniversity of Minnesota College of Education and Human DevelopmentMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.SoLaHmo Partnership for Health and Wellness, West Side Community Health ServicesSt. PaulUSA
  4. 4.Powell Center for Women’s HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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