Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Becky Sumbera


US-educated English learners (US-ELs) immigrated to the United States as children and enrolled in school where they began learning English. Ultimately, they graduate from high school, and the majority of those wishing to continue in higher education begin in community college. These students face tremendous barriers and have lower rates of access to and completion of higher education than English monolingual students.

The study examines the transitions of US-ELs from high school to community college in the years since the implementation of California Assembly Bills 705 and 1705 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The researcher used three theoretical frameworks – LatCrit, Intersectionality, and Community Cultural Wealth – to analyze the institutional structures, provide a holistic view of the students’ lived experiences, and inform the data analysis and recommendations.

The study provides recommendations from the student participants on best practices to support US-ELs in community college. It also provides recommendations for policy changes at the state level. The researcher also introduces the Cultural Wealth Framework for educational leaders to guide the development of programs and structures within schools to support US-ELs in community college. The framework shifts the deficit mindset that permeates educational institutions by developing programs that protect the cultural capital that US-ELs bring to education and building trust and linguistic security in students. Most importantly, the study elevates the voices of US-educated English learners and provides insight into an important and highly motivated population of multilingual students.