International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
Dual Language Program Leadership in High Needs Rural School Districts


One of the most pressing challenges confronting change-agent leaders in rural school districts in the United States is how to provide well designed instructional programs to meet the biliteracy academic development needs of emergent bilingual learners.  This article examines how one language arts teacher / dual language coordinator and her instructional improvement team colleagues working in a high needs rural middle school leveraged design research thinking and intervention development strategies to: 1) engage in intensive data teaming to investigate the root causes of the persistent learning performance gaps of emergent bilingual students on their rural campus; and 2) develop and implement a design-based professional development intervention program for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade core content teachers to refocus teachers’ individual and collective pedagogical perspectives regarding the perceived learning capabilities of emergent bilingual students and reinvigorate their team-centered interdisciplinary planning and classroom teaching practices.  Change-agent leadership insights derived from an analysis of collective intervention design and implementation efforts completed by the instructional improvement team are presented and discussed within two areas: 1) leading instructional improvement initiatives in high needs rural school districts; and 2) leveraging immersive professional development to build core content teachers’ dual language instructional teaming capacities.  Finally, a set of design principles derived from the case study is presented that may be of practical use to rural school leaders interested in exploring the potential of design-based intervention methods to address the dual language programming needs of biliteracy learners.