Vogel, Linda R.

Committee Member

Weiler, Spencer

Committee Member

Armenta, Anthony


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





319 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


More than 80% of the school districts in Colorado are rural. Three quarters of the school districts on state improvement plans in 2013 were rural. Many of these school districts have more than 10% English learners, some more than 30%. These school districts often lack resources and expertise to provide effective language programs for their English learners. How language program directors in rural school districts can interpret external policy in order to lead positive change within their school districts for English learners is of interest to language program directors, school district leaders, and state policymakers. From the perspective of critical language policy analysis, this qualitative study resulted in grounded theory about the process of policy interpretation by eight language program directors in rural school districts. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and coded. Resulting data were analyzed and interpreted through grounded theory methods (Charmaz, 2006, 2014). Findings included the recognition that language program directors play a key leadership role in organizing sense-making for teachers, empowering language teachers as consultants, and connecting the language team with the school district leadership team. An analytical framework was developed in order to provide insight for language program directors as they navigate the balanced tensions of their position and guidance for school district leaders as they hire, train, and support language program directors. English learners deserve high quality language programs within rural settings. Rural school districts with expert language program directors can create powerful site-based reform for English learners to support their academic achievement, their language growth, and their identities as successful bilingual learners.

Degree type


Degree Name




Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by author.