Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jami Royal Berry, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Yinyang Wang, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sidney Camp, Ph.D.


The Hispanic population is growing rapidly nationwide, and school districts across the country are faced with the challenge of guiding these learners to high levels of success. The primary focus of this dissertation addresses the implementation in the state of Georgia of the Vision Project, which is titled A Vision for Public Education, Equity and Excellence. This project is designed to build trust and support for public education across the state, to ensure meaningful engagement within communities, and to provide rewarding educational experiences for all Georgia’s students. A secondary focus for this dissertation assesses perceptions of school leadership practices in high poverty, high “English Language Learner (ELL)” school districts. The literature review includes perceived practices that have informed (a) types of leadership teams, (b) parent involvement, (c) professional development of leaders and teachers and (d) instructional practices for high ELL schools.

An instrumental case study was used to examine how specific school districts are implementing the Vision Project’s recommendations to improve public education. Moreover, there is a secondary focus on leaders in high poverty, high English Language Learner schools. The emphasis is on their perceptions of practices that have informed student learning. Two “Tier 1” districts were selected by utilizing the Vision Project Executive Director as an informant with regard to which districts were implementing the project with fidelity in the 2014-15 school year. A constructivist view to general inductive approach and thematic analysis guided the process used to identify themes in this study. From the qualitative data, four themes emerged. The themes identified within the data include: (a) the ways formal leadership teams are organized (b) professional development of teachers and leaders, (c) instructional strategies utilized to teach ELL students effectively, and (d) leaders’ perception of the impact and challenge of parental involvement in high poverty schools. Additionally, connections to areas of the GA Vision Project were noted in both School District A and School District B. This study contributes to the field of education by giving educational leaders in high poverty, high ELL schools support for planning, developing, and implementing instructional vision in their workplace and communities.