Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Brown-Welty, Sharon


When a student enters the public system and speaks a language other than English at home, this student becomes classified as an English Learner (EL). In order to reclassify out of that designation, a student must pass an English proficiency test at the end of the school year, as well as meet the other requirements for that specific district. If a student in the school system has an EL designation for more than seven years, they become classified a Long-Term English Learner (LTEL) student with very specific academic needs. Within the United States, schools will fail to reclassify 30-50% of EL students and they will become an LTEL (Estrada & Wang, 2018; Olsen, 2010).

The purpose of this study was to determine if creating a digital storytelling project utilizing the lens of Community Cultural Wealth and the capitals of their families and communities, which is their counter-story to what they have experienced in public school as EL being a stigma, affected the academic perceived self-efficacy and improved the writing skills of Long-Term English Learners.

Data collection included the pre-and post-survey self-efficacy survey and pre-and post-writing tasks of 30 LTEL students in a public high school in Southern California. Between the pre-and post-survey and pre and post-writing tasks, the intervention of a digital storytelling project was used with the participants, which used the theory Community Cultural Wealth by Dr. Tara Yosso as the framework for the project. Community Cultural Wealth includes the assets of a community. The digital storytelling project included the student’s creation of a narrative based on Community Cultural Wealth that was made into a presentation that included images, the student’s narration, and music for some students.

The findings of this study showed that from the pre- to post-survey, students showed significant growth in their own perceived self-efficacy. The study also found there was not a significant growth with their writing tasks.

Recommendations for further research included adding a qualitative element with open-ended questions to gauge students’ feelings during the process of the study. Another recommendation was to implement digital stories at a different time in the school year when stress is not compounded due to finals. Recommendations for future use in education included implementing the use of digital storytelling and Community Cultural Wealth in the curriculum as common practice for LTEL students as it improved their academic perceived self-efficacy their perceived self-efficacy in their ability to write a narrative in English.