Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Alberto Gonzalez


AbstractStudents in the United States who are English language learners (ELLs) are increasing in number, and they lag in academic performance in comparison to native English speakers. Educators and community members need to know more about how school personnel address closing the achievement gap as defined by local, state, and national assessments. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the behaviors and practices principals used to address the instruction of ELLs in their schools. The conceptual framework was based in Hallinger’s model of instructional leadership with emphasis on instructional supervision and management. Data were collected during interviews with 10 principals from 4 school districts near the border with Mexico. Participants had at least 2 years as employees of their districts and experience as principals of schools with more than 10% ELLs. A combination of a priori and cycle coding was used to support thematic analysis. The key themes included leadership, development of teacher efficacy, accountability, and instructional supports. Principals emphasized creating a vision and mission and having high expectations for staff and for students. They reported that set practices, processes, and procedures must be used to support teachers and students and that it is critical to build relationships with staff, students, and parents. Strategies included additional time for lesson planning, data talks and walks, professional learning community time, and involving parents through activities. Preparation faculty and supervisors of principals need to focus on instructional leadership capacities to address the needs of ELLs. Positive social change includes elevating the students’ skills and confidence to the point of allowing them to contribute to any community.