Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Norman Weston

Second Advisor

Harrington Gibson

Third Advisor

Elizabeth McDonald


To reduce the achievement gap and stem the increasing dropout rate of English Learners (ELs), a one-way dual language program, Academia Bilingue, was introduced at Sterling High School. ELs then and now account for approximately 20% of the students in the district. A significant academic achievement gap had existed between ELs and their English-proficient counterparts. An alarmingly disproportionate number of ELs were dropping out. The purpose and moral imperative of this policy advocacy document was to actualize the stated mission and vision of the district, that all students have an education which meets or exceeds accepted standards of learning, through challenging, engaging, and empowering them to be more self-aware, self-assured, and responsible members and citizens in multiple communities in which they live. An educational, economic, social, political, and moral/ethical needs analysis, timeline for implementation, and measures to assess the impact of the policy are included.


Having read countless pages of acknowledgments in numerous books, I never realized how difficult a task it would be to say "thank you" for all the help, support, and understanding given by so many people over the time it took to write this dissertation.

First and foremost, I wish to thank my mother, Mary Anne Grazzini, who supported me through the Doctoral program, she may not have been able to see the final product, but I know she was there in spirit. Along with her, I want to acknowledge my three sons, Evan, Michael, and Anthony. They have been great sources of love and relief from this academic endeavor. All my family has been steadfast and supportive. My siblings and their families have all been fantastic – and very patient.

I want to express the most profound appreciation to my committee chair, Professor Norman Weston, who continually and convincingly conveyed the importance of policy advocacy at the local. Dr. Weston's steadfast belief in the use of reflective practice and research as a means for supporting and promoting reforms in education can't be understated. Without his guidance and persistent help, this dissertation would not have been possible.

Next, I would like to thank Dr. Michael Kuzniewski, Fred Ulrich, Melody Becker and numerous colleagues who acted as critical friends, encouraged me, or gave me a kick in the butt to keep me moving along.

Special thanks go to Dr. Joshua McMahon and Dr. Mary Mycyk, throwing down the gauntlet and accepting the 2019 graduation challenge sparked the competitive fire to finish.

Finally, I want to thank Rodolfo Hernandez for his profound words, "how many Doctors do you know who grew up in Cicero, you have a responsibility to all of our kids to finish your dissertation, they need role models that can show them the way and Ignite the Road to Excellence.