Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jennifer Seymour


The Walter Pope School District (WPSD), a predominantly African American district, has experienced a new wave of immigrant students arriving from African nations such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. Many students arrive with little or no formal education, and they are not achieving academic success. This purpose of this study was to discover successful instructional strategies that academically, socially, and culturally support the immigrant students. Guided by Portes and Rumbaut's segmented assimilation theory, this study examined the experiences of WPSD African immigrant learners and explored instructional approaches to reinforce their learning. The research questions focused on teachers' perceptions of factors that influence immigrant students' success and of their effectiveness in working with this population. The participants were teachers in the district with two or more years of teaching experience. A case study design was used to capture the insights of seven participants through individual interviews. Emergent themes were identified from the data through open coding and findings were developed and validated. The key results were that teachers have a desire to engage with their peers to create collaborative learning opportunities, literacy rich environments, and positive peer interactions and that they desire meaningful and relevant professional development to support instruction for African immigrant learners. Findings indicated that teachers need to receive resources, recognition, and appreciation for their efforts to positively impact their immigrant students. Implications for positive social change are that African immigrant students will benefit from teachers being provided with improved instructional strategies that align with best teaching practices.