Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Emily Goodman-Scott

Committee Member

Stephanie Smith-Durkin

Committee Member

Natalie Edirmanasinghe


Equity in education has become increasingly prioritized, due to the growing mainstream recognition of the inequitable practices that historically have and presently continue to exist in K-12 education. With the K-12 student population diversity continuously increasing in areas such as abilities, race/ethnicities, socioeconomic status, languages, immigration status, and more, ensuring equitable access to education is vital. One such unique student group needing equitable access to education are multilingual learners or MLL. Located within schools, school counselors are uniquely positioned to equitably serve MLL students. Overall, while the research on school counselors serving MLL students (at the pre-service and practice level) is evolving- more research is needed, to ensure school counselors are equitably serving this population, especially given their unique needs. This study took a phenomenological approach to capturing the lived experiences of 11 school counselors who primarily support their schools’ MLL student populations. This study resulted in six themes: (a) advocating for equity; (b) unique challenges and responsibilities within the MLSC role; (c) linguistic nuances; (d) collaboration is crucial; (e) mutual respect and empathy with MLL students; (f) adapting interventions specific to MLL students. Implications for practice, preparation, advocacy, and future research are explored.


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