Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Dr. Nicholas Michelli


Dr. Alberto Bursztyn

Committee Members

Dr. Alberto Bursztyn

Dr. Terrie Epstein

Subject Categories

Accessibility | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Teacher Education and Professional Development


Culturally Responsive Instruction, Linguistically Responsive Instruction, RtI, Response to Intervention, Inquiry, Teacher team


This dissertation investigates the impact of teacher team collaboration and planning around culturally and linguistically responsive instruction for emergent bilingual students in a secondary school setting supported by a targeted intervention system. To provide a context for the importance of this study, the dissertation begins by 1) including observations of both academic teacher team and guidance collaboration to understand the strategies used to plan instruction and guidance interventions for students drawing on existing research around professional learning communities and guidance structures; and 2) use of an existing observation protocol and frameworks to identify key practices and characteristics of culturally and linguistically responsive instruction and assessment in classrooms in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 settings. Finally, through semi-structured interviews, the study explores 3) the ways that teachers acquire culturally and linguistically responsive strategies through traditional and nontraditional means.

This research is an ethnographic case study with data collection that includes observations of both team meetings and classrooms for a team of grade-level teachers in a small New York City newcomer high school, semi-structured interviews with teachers, administrators and guidance team member, student focus groups, and document analysis of teacher artifacts and student work. Findings suggest that targeted support and planning around language and culture can be effective in promoting student progress in English language and content knowledge but that foundational literacy can be an area that is overlooked without the right types of assessments or practices to guide progress monitoring. In addition, structured teacher collaboration with guidance can help generate a culturally responsive climate for students that better addresses their needs in and outside the classroom. Overall, this dissertation hopes to fill a gap in teacher education and professional learning in addressing and teaching to the complexity of diverse learners.