Thesis advisor: Lauri JohnsonThe United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than half of the 22.5 million refugees worldwide are children. Among the consequences of fleeing their homes because of violence, war and persecution, families and children face a crisis level of interruption to their educational opportunities. As the United States continues to lead the world in welcoming asylum seekers, educational leaders must prepare for an increasing population of transnational students (Bajaj & Bartlett, 2017). Public schools in Massachusetts offer a unique perspective to study how leaders build supports for refugee students because of its high national rankings and the adoption of new Multiple-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for all students (Massachusetts, 2019). This heuristic case study, nested within a group study of inclusive leadership practices in a Massachusetts school district, included interviews with 16 district and school leaders, informal observations of a high school and elementary school with a large population of “newcomer” students, and document review of school websites, newspapers, archives, achievement data, memos, and policy statements. Findings indicated that school leaders use inclusive practices to support the needs of their refugee students by (I) Identifying Barriers to Learning, (II) Aligning Structures with Universal Design for Learning, and (III) Committing to Equitable Access for All. Implications of this case study highlight how leaders might balance equity and access in response to the forced migration of millions of students arriving in their districts.Thesis (EdD) — Boston College, 2020.Submitted to: Boston College. Lynch School of Education.Discipline: Educational Leadership and Higher Education
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