Unpacking capital: Promoting EL student success & learning to “Do school”


  • Maria Montalvo Balbed Metro RESA
  • Bernadette McCormack Musetti Loyola Marymount University




English Learners, Immigrants, Ability Centered Perspective, Cultural Capital


This study explores ways in which various types of capital were leveraged by immigrant Latina English Learners from the Dominican Republic, all of whom became successful educators and administrators in diverse settings. The study builds on the work of Yosso (2005) and describes how these multiple types of capital (e.g. linguistic, familial, navigational, resistant and aspirational) are often unrecognized by educators, but when understood and employed by teachers as assets students bring with them to the schooling context, can greately assist students to be successful and indeed can make the critical difference between educational success and failure. Recommendations for practice are included.

Author Biographies

Maria Montalvo Balbed, Metro RESA

Dr. Maria Montalvo-Balbed is the Director of ELL Programs at Metro RESA in the greater Atlanta area. She is a long time K-12 teacher, teacher educator and administrator who works statewide and nationally to improve educational outcomes for English Language Learners. Dr. Montalvo Balbed has taught at Kennesaw State University and through her work at Metro RESA has provided outreach and professional learning to many thousands of educators through both face-to-face and on-line learning opportunities. 



Bernadette McCormack Musetti, Loyola Marymount University

Bernadette Musetti, PhD, is an Associate Professor and the Director of Liberal Studies (Elementary Education) at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has devoted her career to teaching English Learners across levels and contexts and to preparing educators to promote success among English Language Learners. She is the former Co-Director of the Center for Latino Achievement & Success in Education at the University of Georgia.


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How to Cite

Balbed, M. M., & Musetti, B. M. (2015). Unpacking capital: Promoting EL student success & learning to “Do school”. GATESOL Journal, 25(1). https://doi.org/10.52242/gatesol.36



Empirical Research or Literature Reviews