Vogel, Linda R.


Cieminski, Amie B.

Committee Member

Merchant, William R.

Committee Member

Larkins, Randy J.


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



163 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Public schools in the United States have experienced a rise in the number of English language learners (ELLs). (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2018). The ELLs across different states including Colorado schools underperform academically when compared to their peers (NCES, 2018). To close the achievement gap, it is important to understand how to create and sustain successful ELL programs at the elementary level. Therefore, the purpose of this non-experimental survey research was to identify the possible factors contributing to the success of ELL programs in elementary schools in the same school district and to explore the role administrators and teachers play in the success of the school’s ELL program at the elementary level. Using purposeful sampling, the study was conducted in five elementary schools in the same school district in Colorado due to student growth above the state’s average on the World-class Instructional Design and Assistance (WIDA) assessment for ELLs. There were 27 participants: 10 administrators and 17 teachers. The method used to answer the research questions was an online survey questionnaire using Qualtrics. Thematic analysis was used for qualitative data that were derived from open-ended questions on the survey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the quantitative data collected based on the Likert scale responses. The findings regarding the role of the school leadership in successful ELL programs were categorized into two themes: (a) supporting instructional strategies, and (b) developing interpersonal relationships. The participants in this study were asked to rate the effectiveness of the following seven factors identified through a review of prior research: professional development, parent involvement, teaching practices, evaluation of performance, attitudes, administrative support, and teaching background. Three themes emerged when looking at the combination of the quantitative and qualitative findings: parent involvement, professional development, and evaluation of performance. Based on the study’s findings, a positive partnership of parents, families and communities influence the school culture and children’s academic performance. School leaders should involve ELL parents in the progress of their children by informing and updating them with the data and including their voice in preparing relevant goals. Also, school leaders should empower their teachers to implement new teaching strategies based on what has been learned in professional development programs and been proven effective. School leadership should use effective and comprehensive evaluation tools that provide constructive and ongoing feedback to the teachers to improve their practices in educating ELLs.

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