The English learner (EL) population in the United States continues to grow. To improve their pedagogy in working with this population, many educators have received training in English as a Second Language (ESL), but the gap between ELs and their native English speaking peers persists. When teachers engage as members of professional support networks, they are more likely to successfully implement the strategies learned in their ESL professional development (Echevarria, Richards-Tutor, Chinn, & Ratleff, 2011). This study considered the nature and function of the professional support network of a district's ESL-endorsed teachers. Using network theory methods, 257 teachers and other school personnel responded to an online survey. Through an understanding of the professional support needs of these teachers, whom they contact for support, and the nature of those ties (in terms of reciprocity, homophily, frequency, influence, and relational embeddedness), district and school administrators can be better positioned to enhance successful professional support networks and facilitate the implementation of effective teacher practices learned through professional development. Based on the findings, practical suggestions are given to help district administrators strengthen these professional support networks with the intent to maintain compliance with governmental standards, help schools to meet federally and state-mandated progress requirements, and have a positive academic impact upon English-language learning students.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





English language learners, English as a second language, English learner, English language learner, education, social network, professional support, relational embeddedness