Thesis

What do elementary school administrators need to know to meet the educational needs of English language learners in the United States?

The purpose of this thesis was to: survey elementary school administrators in South San Diego County to ascertain their top concerns for English Language Learners (ELLs), collect nuggets of advice they would give a colleague just beginning to serve an ELL population, and then develop handbooks to help other administrators with this issue. Eighteen school administrators responded to a telephone survey based on the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) and the Advisory-Mentorship Model. These models were utilized to develop two questions regarding issues of concern for educating ELLs, and advice they would give a principal who is just beginning to serve ELLs at his or her school. The data collected were analyzed separately. The fifty-one responses to the CBAM were analyzed and categorized from 0 to 6 in terms of the CBAM "Stages of Concern." 2.0% of the responses indicated a lack of awareness of the special needs of ELLs (Level 0). 4.0% indicated a desire or need to learn more about how to meet the needs ofELLs (Levell). 6.0% indicated concern about finding time to deal with the challenges presented by ELLs (Level2). 23.5% indicated concern for how to find and manage time and materials to meet the needs ofELLs (Level3). 21.5% showed a focus on the value of programs or services currently provided for ELLs (Level 4 ). 21.5% indicated the principal's concerns lie with networking and partnering with others to do even more for ELLs, refining current services or programs, or encouraging teachers to work in teams (Level 5). Finally, 21.5% of the responses related to fine-tuning existing programs or reflecting on outcomes in order to revise details of a program (Level 6). The high level of the majority of responses reflects the expertise of the participants. The same fifty-one concerns were also analyzed thematically. The category with the most responses was "teacher preparation and training" with 21.5% ofthe total. The next category of concern was "social and cultural issues" with 15.5% ofthe total. These results imply the participants value a well-prepared teacher who is culturally sensitive and aware of the needs of ELLs. There were forty-one responses to the Advisory-Mentorship Model question. These were analyzed thematically. The most frequent piece of advice (27% of the total) was to recruit well-prepared teachers who are culturally sensitive and aware of the needs of ELLs. The next two most frequent pieces of advice were to develop a strong component of parental involvement (17.5%), and to develop the social and cultural awareness ofthe school's faculty and staff(17.5%). The data collected in the form of this feedback from experienced school administrators were used to guide the research in answering the thesis question "What do elementary school administrators need to know to meet the educational needs of English Language Learners in the United States?" Finally, two handbooks were prepared, as appendixes, to assist school administrators just beginning to face the challenge of meeting the educational needs of ELLs.

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