The Impact of Central Office and Principal Joint Work on Multilingual Language Learners' Outcomes

Sandra Montañez-Diodonet, Fordham University


Roaring Falls Unified School District (a pseudonym), an urban New Jersey district near NYC, was challenged by K-8 Multilingual Language Learners (MLLs) who lagged significantly behind general education students in English Language Arts (ELA). The District had roughly 12,000 students, of whom 93.0% were Hispanic, 26.2% were MLLs, and 32.0% were former MLLs. Using an improvement science approach, three primary drivers were identified: 1) improve attendance, 2) increase the quality of instruction by providing culturally and linguistically relevant (CLR) feedback to ELA teachers of MLLs, and 3) improve equity in instruction by collaborating with principals and central office staff to increase outcomes in ELA using the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Framework (SIOP). Three principals and eight teachers participated in the study, along with central office administrators. Six change ideas were implemented: 1) establishing a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) for principals and central office administrators, including the superintendent; 2) facilitating a book study focusing on CLR and SIOP; 3) implementing a 15-hour SIOP training for teachers, principals, and central office administrators, including the superintendent; 4) conducting classroom walkthroughs on MLL best practices; 5) meeting consistently with attendance officers monthly to track data and communication to parents and students, and 6) reactivating the Attendance Review Committees. As a result of the intervention, including a postcard strategy, student attendance improved significantly. Principals were able to provide CLR feedback to teachers as a result of the NIC, which implemented key social and cultural components necessary to sustain an evidence-based professional learning community. All eight ELA teachers were able to implement five or more SIOP strategies learned during 15 professional development sessions. The MAP Assessment showed statistically significant year-over-year improvement in ELA outcomes for MLLs across the three schools.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|English as a Second Language|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Montañez-Diodonet, Sandra, "The Impact of Central Office and Principal Joint Work on Multilingual Language Learners' Outcomes" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30493956.