This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Increasing enrollment of EL students in Georgia: A multiple case study of school leaders at high-EL schools




Cantrell, Michelle

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



English learners (ELs) are increasing in US schools; however, their achievement and graduation rate continues to lag as compared to non-Hispanic white students. In Georgia, where the EL population has increased significantly since 2000, school leaders are underprepared and ill-equipped to meet the needs of this heterogeneous group of students. A relatively small percentage of school leaders in high-EL districts in Georgia have certification connected to understanding the culture, language acquisition, and teaching implications for students, as well as how to engage their parents and utilize socially just practices, ensuring equity within their buildings. Using the lens of culturally responsive school leadership, this research seeks to understand what school leaders experience while walking among the EL population at their school, and how they meet the unique needs of multilingual learners.