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

Linda Gejda, Ed.D.


This Improvement Science Dissertation in Practice aimed to investigate how teachers' cultural backgrounds and potential cultural biases were manifested in their teaching and determine the degree to which student engagement is impacted as a result of teachers' proficiency in the use of Cultural-linguistic Responsiveness (CLR). Additionally, this study aims to intervene in the problem of practice (lack of use of Cultural-linguistic Responsiveness strategies) through assessment of the impact of training to increase Cultural-linguistic Responsiveness strategies. By utilizing a convergent mixed-method approach, this study follows a team of devoted school community members as they planned, implemented, studied, and reflected on the outcomes of initiating targeted Cultural-linguistic Responsive teaching to all staff, one-on-one coaching to five teachers and observations with feedback with fifteen staff members from a small elementary school in New England. Through a six-week cycle, the School's Network Improvement Community organized and executed professional development learning and implementation sessions after data on a district-wide survey, focus groups, and end-user consultation indicated that CLR was a necessary focus for the school context. The Network Improvement Community performed pre and post-intervention observational walkthroughs and focus groups and used reflection tools to justify the outcomes of this study. Based on the qualitative and quantitative data presented in this Improvement Science study, the researcher feels confident in reporting that the intervention of CLR professional learning and coaching is a viable intervention to increase CLR strategies. In addition, this intervention supported the teacher's knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward implementing Cultural-linguistic Responsive instruction based on student engagement, student self, social- awareness, and self-management. Increased professional learning in CLR increased teacher perception of their practices in CLR pedagogy to improve student-teacher relationships and student engagement. This result was evident based on the observation tool results, which demonstrated a statistically significant increase in participants' use of CLR strategies as a whole. In addition, it was noted that an increase in the CLR learning environment was associated with an increase in student engagement by 4.89 points. The researcher enjoyed watching her staff gradually develop their CLR mindset, skillsets, and student engagement. Recommendations for future research and practice include perfecting the CLR professional development structures for the most impact on individual schools.

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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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