Date of Award


Degree Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)




A dissertation in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and Human Development presented to the faculty of Sacred Heart University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education.

Committee Chair

T. Lee Morgan, Ph.D.

2nd Reader

David G. Title, Ed.D.

3rd Reader

Angela Todaro-Kraszewski, Ph.D.


This Improvement Science research study investigates how school districts can support educators with one to three years of experience in developing culturally inclusive social-emotional teaching practices (CISEL). This mixed-methods study aimed to understand the early career teacher experience and their perspectives on CISEL to identify structures that support this area of pedagogical development during the transition from preparation to employment. First, an initial root cause analysis exposed the need for more explicit integration of cultural inclusivity into educator preparation and early career teacher professional learning in the state and district that employs the scholarly practitioner. Secondly, the root cause analysis confirmed that early career teachers perceive the social teaching practice of “responsibility and choice” as an area for growth. Combining these findings with a literature review on early career teacher support and culturally inclusive teaching practices, the researcher developed and implemented an intervention focused on classroom discourse. Classroom discourse is relevant to the development of CISEL because it relies on the teacher’s instructional choices to facilitate student voice, student choice, and student interaction. The research participants who volunteered for this study participated in two interviews, implemented a classroom discourse structure four times, and reflected on their implementation using a targeted rubric and questions. This study converged descriptive and correlational analyses from the rubric data with coded themes from the written reflections and interviews. Results show that teacher delivery correlates to student communication and interaction. Additionally, the use of targeted and explicit reflections on social-emotional teaching practices can offer teachers support in their development of culturally inclusive classroom practices. These findings lead the researcher to recommend policy changes that include explicit guidance for culturally inclusive teaching practices across teacher preparation, onboarding, and evaluation. The research findings also ask magnet districts to consider professional learning that is differentiated and collaborative based on the strengths of each unique school. This study recommends future research on student perceptions of CISEL and mentor awareness of CISEL-related practices and resources.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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