Administrator's Perceptions on Growing Populations of Students who are English Language Learners in the State of Wyoming



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For centuries, America has been the place for people from all countries to come and seek their dreams. Our nation continues to welcome all, offering cultural and linguistic diversity to the areas where they settle, which is in new areas of the country and into many public schools.

This study looks at the increase in culturally and linguistically diverse students in Wyoming, and how schools in Wyoming are impacted by the linguistically diverse population. The qualitative study investigated the perspectives of district leadership regarding the growing population of ELs in the state. The purpose of the study was to understand what district leaders in the State of Wyoming are doing in terms of this growing population. The study focused on four areas regarding the growing EL population as to: 1) the challenges districts face 2) the positive opportunities districts have, 3) what districts are actually doing, and 4) what districts think they should be doing. The research participation was planned through purposeful sampling, as voices from all district leaders would provide more clarity to the research questions.

Literature review focused on the challenges that school districts face with a growing English language learner population, the challenges superintendents face in their roles, and the ways that effective superintendents transform schools and student outcomes. Especially important in the literature are the discussions of how culturally responsive leadership is imperative for students to succeed.

Themes emerged in response to each of the focus areas. Specifically, district leaders have been working to provide for stronger EL student outcomes, yet there are still areas in need of improving. Data revealed much what is found in the literature, though local idiosyncrasies provided insight as to how Wyoming has been affected differently. The general themes addressed staffing, professional training, and funding issues. Communications, political support, and cultural relations were themes that were also revealed.