Date of Award

Spring 2-3-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Phil Pendley

Second Advisor

Martinrex Kedziora

Third Advisor

Laurie Goodman

Fourth Advisor

Patricia Clark-White


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to identify and describe effective instructional strategies for English language arts and mathematics perceived by expert fourth and fifth grade elementary teachers in southern California to reduce the achievement gap in high poverty and high English language learner (ELL) elementary schools.

Methodology: The researcher selected a qualitative research design to describe the instructional strategies used by teachers in three southern California school districts. Through in-depth, semi-structured, open-ended interviews, the researcher provided an examination of the instructional strategies used to address the needs of high poverty and high ELL elementary schools. Teachers were identified from three criteria: (a) teaching at a school with a Latino population of 50% or more, (b) population of 80% or more in poverty, and (c) currently teaching fourth or fifth grade. Data collected using NVivo software to determine patterns and categories.

Findings: Based on the responses from the study participants, four major findings were established for both Research Questions 1 and 2.

Conclusions: The major finding from Research Questions 1 and 2 were summarized as four conclusions: (a) collaboration is the number one tool teachers need to prepare students; (b) teachers need training on a collaborative style for teaching small groups, the management, and different teaching strategies and organizational patterns to make small group instruction effective in a large group setting; (c) teachers do not have the technology skills and knowledge necessary to maximize the impact of technology as an instructional tool; and (d) teachers do not have the technology skill and knowledge to maximize the impact of technology as an instructional tool for mathematics or mathematics using manipulatives.

Recommendations: Six recommendations are: (a) larger sample across the United States focusing on ELLs from different origins; (b) similar study with a teacher of a different origin from the ELLs, (c) similar study of secondary teachers’ effective instructional strategies, (d) observational study in collaboration to evaluate effectiveness in supporting ELLs, (e) similar study with special education students, and (f) study of English only students comparing differences and similarities between ELLs and effective instructional strategies.