Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Paul Englesberg


There is little evidence concerning the impact of professional learning communities (PLCs) at juvenile correctional facilities. This qualitative case study explored the implementation of a PLC at a juvenile correctional facility school that housed students 10 to 19 years of age in southeastern United States. The purpose of this study was to understand the perceptions of teachers and paraprofessionals about how the PLC supported their work as they designed, constructed, and delivered instruction at the correctional facility. The social interactions among engaged educators through collaboration, collective inquiry, reflections, and communication derived from constructivist learning theory. Qualitative methodology included document review and structured face-to-face interviews with 4 teachers and 3 paraprofessionals. Following an inductive model, educators' perceptions were analyzed using an open coding process to derive categories, themes, and meaning. Five themes emerged: professional learning growth and benefits, teacher learning in PLCs, attitude adjustment of the culture, collaboration and sharing, and active engagement of paraprofessionals in PLCs. This study provided 5 recommendations: use allotted time, prioritize concerns, keep an open communication, discuss student-centered questions, and ensure supportive relationships. The findings indicated that the PLC supported teachers and paraprofessionals with strategies and accommodations to promote student achievement. This study has the potential to strengthen teacher collaboration and instruction to empower incarcerated students to succeed academically and become productive citizens.