Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Education Theory and Practice

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, x, 166 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Carol R Rodgers

Committee Members

Kristen C Wilcox, Francesca Durand


collaboration, culturally responsive teaching, English language learners, ESOL-focused leadership, professional development, secondary science, English language, Culturally relevant pedagogy, Multicultural education, Cultural awareness

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Language and Literacy Education


A continued increase in the number of English language learners (ELLs) in U.S. schools has made educators consider the ways they approach teaching and learning for these students. Culturally responsive teaching is one way many educators have attempted to meet ELLs’ unique needs, valuing the cultural and linguistic diversity that they bring to school with them. Moreover, through collaboration and ESOL-focused leadership, educators are able to take a system-approach to teaching and learning for these students, and in doing so, they are able to provide ELLs with meaningful and authentic learning experiences that will allow them to be inclusive members of the school community and prepare them for full participation in U.S. society. Through this single case study, I show how educators in one suburban high school have employed these three elements, and how they have worked to close the opportunity and achievement gaps in science. The findings from this study suggest that culturally responsive teaching and the collaborative nature of the instructional environment at this high school have had a positive influence on teaching and learning for ELLs as they learn science content and academic English. They also suggest that the leadership practices among the school district’s administrators do in fact have an ESOL focus to them, and these sustained practices create a system of support for teachers of ELLs and ELLs directly. Furthermore, this system of support has also contributed to creating conditions for ELLs to succeed and become inclusive members of the school community. Finally, through this study, I found that there is more to a system than mere structural interactions; it is the humans involved who give the system life and make it unique.