AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

The Impact of Two Inter-District School PLC's on Professional Pracatice and Student Achievement

by Andrea Ricci

Institution: Central Connecticut State University
Department: Department of Educational Leadership
Year: 2015
Keywords: Professional learning communities.; Academic achievement.
Record ID: 2062864
Full text PDF: http://content.library.ccsu.edu/u?/ccsutheses,2075


Professional learning communities (PLCs) have come to play a recent significant role in the instructional practices planned and performed by teachers, administrators, and schools. PLCs are a collaborative team of teachers who work together toward a common goal and objective. The end result for a PLC is to positively impact student learning through instructional practice that is fostered by a shared mission and goal. This study was a mixed-methods case study analysis of PLCs based upon the tenets and principles of effective PLCs stipulated by DuFour (2004, 2007). The study sought to examine the structure and effectiveness of two PLCs (one each from an elementary and middle school) within a suburban district. From PLC member interviews, it was found that teachers felt comfortable within their PLCs and valued the trust they had with fellow team members. It was found that the PLC process and structure enabled teachers to feel motivated and tied to the work of the collaborative team as well as resulted in positive impact on student learning. Analysis of observational data of PLC meetings demonstrated that both of the PLCs in the case study were productive, comfortable, and developed a positive rapport among members. It was concluded that leadership played a strong role in how well PLCs performed. Two forms of leadership influencing PLC performance were identified: administrative leadership and the leadership that arose from PLC team members. Although the sample of two PLCs was relatively small, the study may provide some important practical insights into current thinking and processes related to PLC effectiveness in schools. From this study, it is important to consider the emergence of the four key principles aligned with PLC effectiveness: collaboration based upon trust and democratic ideals, teacher motivation and buy-in, positive student impact, and leadership feedback and support, How these principles actually play out in real contexts may differ, but their presence appears to be fundamental for effective PLC work structures. "Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education."; Dissertation advisor: Susan Seider.; Ed.D.,Central Connecticut State University,,2015.;