School Leaders’ Perceptions of Instructional Practices for English Language Learners in Community Charter Schools

Nancy Rosario Rodriguez, Fordham University


School districts and charter schools nationwide are experiencing rapid growth in the number of students of color, culturally and linguistically diverse students, and students from low-income families. School leadership and teachers are often unprepared to meet the needs of these students. As a result, the persistent gap in academic achievement between majority and minority students has grown larger. The knowledge gap is particularly large for educators in urban middle schools. New York City charter schools, which enrolled roughly 8% of students in 2020, have committed to addressing these challenges by addressing the academic and linguistic needs of a culturally diverse student body. This study examined six school leaders’ perceptions of instructional practices for middle school (Grades 6, 7, and 8) English Language Learners in two community-grown public charter schools. Culturally Responsive Leadership Theory framed this qualitative case study research; participants were purposefully selected, and data was collected from semi-structured interviews, observations, and document review. The study found that NYSED Commissioner’s Regulations-Part 154 influenced instructional practices and programming criteria for middle school English Language Learners across three domains: instructional practices, professional development in language learning and cultural diversity, and parent-school partnerships. Second, English Language Learner success was influenced by two culturally responsive school leadership practices: decision-making that incorporates a) diversity and b) equity and access. Finally, student outcomes were impacted by three aspects of the NYC Charter School Model: the extended school year, school nutrition, and school-home communication.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language|Educational leadership|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez, Nancy Rosario, "School Leaders’ Perceptions of Instructional Practices for English Language Learners in Community Charter Schools" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27997258.