A Case Study of Leadership Practices in a Dual Language Program

Date

2024

Authors

Almanza, Olivia

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Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perception of the principal and teachers regarding what transformational leadership practices meet the needs of EBs in a DLI PK-8th grade campus in South Texas. The research site was selected for having 40% emergent bilingual students. The campus principal has been implementing a comprehensive 80:20 dual language immersion program for more than five years, and the campus has received an "A" rating from the Texas Education Agency based on State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessments more than once.

Data were collected from the research site by utilizing Seidman (2006) interview series which consist of three rounds of structured interviews from the principal, two interviews from two bilingual teachers, and one from the focus group which consisted of three bilingual teachers. Following Saldaña's (2021) coding process, the data were collected, categorized, and given a code aligned to the transformational leadership theory. The main themes that emerged on the leadership practices used to implement a comprehensive dual language program in a PK-8th grade campus are the following: (1) Build a Shared Vision through Stakeholder Involvement; (2) Model School Practices and Advocate; (3) Build relationships, Empower, and Distribute Leadership; (4) Facilitate Teacher Reflection for Student and School Improvement.

The findings indicate that the principal set structures to transform a traditional school to a dual language immersion campus. He engaged stakeholders in building the vision of the school and modeled practices that he expected his staff to emulate. One of the core leadership practices that he implemented was collaboration and used it to engage staff in working as a team as they met and discussed school progress. He built positive relationships with staff, students, and families. He inspired his subordinates to explore new approaches, empowered them, and increased capacity. He also created space for students to meet with him so they could express campus improvements that needed to be made based on their lens. Transformational leadership practices have had a positive effect in a dual language campus in obtaining high levels of performance of teachers which ensured high academic achievement of students.

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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies