Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Marcia Griffiths-Prince


Middle school teachers at a rural site in a western state have faced problems in implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts (ELA), as well as in resolving achievement gaps in ELA between regular education students, special education (SPED) students, English language learners (ELL), and at-risk students. The purpose of this case study was to obtain teachers’ and school leaders’ perspectives on how CCSS for ELA can be used to enhance learning for all populations of students using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. The CCSS for ELA and UDL comprised the frameworks employed in this study. In addition, the learning areas of engagement, representation, action and expression as well as the UDL guidelines were used to guide research questions, data collection and analysis. Nine teachers, the program improvement specialist, and the principal participated in the study. Their perspectives on teachers’ use of instructional training from professional development were collected using face-to-face interviews, document analysis, and observations of professional development and classroom teaching. All data were coded and analyzed for common themes. The results included triangulated findings from seven overarching themes that could be used to guide administration and professional development leaders on making changes within the program. This study may contribute to change as results indicated the need for creation of a platform for teachers to share effective instructional strategies and techniques for improving practice to enhance learning for all groups of students. This sharing practice might help close the achievement gap as well as promote leadership among teachers that may improve larger views of community-centered education.