Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Teresa Dillard

Abstract

The implementation of professional learning communities (PLCs) in schools has been shown to serve as a catalyst in transforming school culture and increasing the academic performance of students. Our school district mandated that PLCs were established at the research site, an urban Louisiana school, for the primary purpose of closing the achievement gap. Yet, recent data from the local district indicate that these PLCs have not resulted in capacity building for sustainable improvement. Ineffective implementation of the current PLCs may have contributed to the poor outcomes. One purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine teachers' perceptions of the implementation of PLCs. Another was to gauge teachers' views on PLCs as a means of promoting a positive school culture and increasing academic achievement among students. A social constructivist framework was used for this qualitative case study. Research questions centered on teachers' perceptions regarding refinement of the currently implemented PLCs. Purposeful sampling was used to select 13 seventh through ninth grade teachers as participants. Qualitative data were collected through questionnaires and telephone interviews and then analyzed for emergent themes. Findings revealed that the current PLCs were beneficial but needed refinement related to relevance, intent, and planning. The following four themes emerged: time, collaboration, shared responsibility, and a focus on learning for all students. Study findings provide insight about PLCs from the perspectives of the teachers who work within them. The implications for social change include enhanced knowledge and understanding that may help educators in better implementing PLCs with intent and transparency and by positively contributing to school improvement and student achievement.