Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Maranda Turner, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Cristy Alcaraz-Juarez, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Shannon Zavala, Ed.D.


This qualitative research study used culturally responsive protocols to provide stakeholders in a small rural community access to a district’s decision-making process. Community stakeholders were tasked with making a recommendation for relocating its dual language program (DLP). The committee identified three themes to guide their decision making: (a) keep the school in one location, (b) maintain the culture, and (c) provide access to resources. Despite intentional protocols used, barriers remained that impacted committee members’ level of engagement and participation. Key factors contributing to a lack of engagement included insufficient time and lack of trust. Additionally, native Spanish speakers (NSS) and nonheritage English-speaking participants identified language access, lack of resources, and lack of trust as barriers. The small sample size did not provide an equitable representation of stakeholders. Implications for this study suggest the need for districts to consider the following strategies when engaging a cross representative group of community stakeholders in decision-making processes: (a) extend more time to make decisions, (b) provide linguistic access, (c) take time to establish trust, (d) increase/recruit the number of NSS and nonheritage English speakers on committees and (e) identify allies who can help nonheritage English speakers navigate the unfamiliar U.S. educational system and serve as advocates in a culturally responsive manner. A deliberate and well-developed equity plan can help mitigate and remove barriers for all participants to engage equitably in discussions and processes to benefit student outcomes.

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