Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Nancy Dishner, James H. Lampley, Cecil N. Blankenship


This study examined the rapid rise of the number of ELL/ Hispanic learners who are enrolling in the public school systems of Northeast Tennessee. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect that the rapid rise of ELL/Hispanic learners was having on these school systems.

The approach to the study was a mixed-methods approach. Data were collected from respondents using a survey instrument that included both Likert-type responses and short answer questions. The population of this study were the 132 building-level principals of the 17 public school districts located in the First Congressional District of Northeast Tennessee. There were 81 survey responses received from the participants for a percentage of 61.4. Descriptive statistics and frequencies were used to analyze the quantitative portion of the survey using the Statistical Package of the Social Sciences program designed to analyze and display data. Qualitative data were analyzed using the "cut-and-put-in-the-folder method" suggested by Bogdan and Biklen (1998, p. 186).

The findings of the qualitative section of the study revealed that principals were concerned about cultural differences and ways to encourage parental involvement at their children's school. The communication barrier was mentioned as the most common barrier at their particular schools. Principals were concerned with the increasing pressure concerning standardized testing and adequate yearly progress. They also stated that the testing process was unfair to ELL/Hispanic students. Attendance and discipline were issues that principals stated that ELL/Hispanic students required no more of their time than did non-ELL/Hispanic students.

The quantitative data revealed that principals with a substantial enrollment of 5% or more ELL/Hispanic students in their building reported they do not have an adequate number of translators and they prefer a pull-out program versus a replacement program. The findings also revealed a large neutral response from principals to the Likert-type items. This may be because these principals had few or no ELL/Hispanic students enrolled at their school.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.