Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




English Language Learners, culturally responsive pedagogy, professional learning community, authentic and distributed leadership, systems thinking, social constructivism


The English Language Learner (ELL) international boarding students at an independent, not-for-profit school have consistently demonstrated lower levels of academic achievement than their local peers. This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) proposes to address this Problem of Practice (PoP) by creating a professional learning community (PLC) to institute more culturally responsive pedagogy. This OIP suggests a compelling correlation between inclusiveness and academic success, and therefore the school needs to raise its level of cultural competency, introduce more equitable assessments, and increase coordination among the various departments and systems that support the ELL students. The implementation of the proposed solution relies on a combination of both authentic and distributed leadership styles, while social constructivism and systems thinking underpin the PLC philosophy. Bolman and Deal’s (2017) Four-Frame Model is used to determine a viable approach to the problem, while Nadler & Tushman’s Congruence Model (1999) is applied to uncover the elements that will both drive and hinder institutional change in the organization. Kotter’s (2014) Eight Accelerator Model leverages the distributed leadership model, supplemented by Cooperrider & McQuaid’s (2012) appreciative inquiry (AI), a positive, constructivist approach which will direct an in-depth, school-wide inquiry into ELL student learning and culturally responsive pedagogy. The accelerator model and appreciative inquiry guide the implementation and communication plan to foster learning over the change process. The Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle is included as a tool for the monitoring of the change process, providing the opportunity for assessment and continuous improvement (Popescu & Popescu, 2015).