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Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Over the past 20 years, Long Island, New York, has seen an increase in linguistic and racial diversity within its schools. The growth in linguistic diversity has brought with it an increase in English language learners (ELLs), representing almost a 50% increase since 2012. As the ELL population has grown, so has the achievement gap between ELLs and their non-ELL peers. The current teaching staff on Long Island does not match the diversity of its student population. Prior research has shown that the cultural mismatch between the teachers and students is one contributing factor to the aforementioned achievement gap. In order for educators to understand their students, they must first recognize their own worldview and appreciate that the worldviews of their students may vary greatly from their own. This multimodal hermeneutic phenomenological study examines the influence of place attachment and topophilia on the formation of the worldview of educators who return to their childhood school districts to teach, where the ELL population has grown greatly. The study utilized the combined theoretical frameworks of sociocultural theory, place attachment, and topophilia to explore educators’ formation and understanding of their own worldviews and those of others. Through three semistructured interviews, including the exploration of photos and community tours, the participants described how bonds within their school and community shaped who they are today. Using thematic analysis, four themes arose: bonds are created through connections within the community and family; bonds are formed through attachment with the school; bonds are developed through relationships with people; and changes in the school and community present challenges to the sense of identity and home

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