Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Professional learning communities (PLCs) were established in a local suburban school district in 2010; however, since their inception, the value of the program has not been determined. In a K-8 school district, a qualitative case study was conducted to determine the influence of PLCs on the 4 domains of teacher responsibilities: preparation, classroom environment, teaching, and professional duties. The conceptual framework was based on Bandura's social learning theory and Danielson's framework for teaching. The research questions focused on how teacher participation and the allotment of time in a PLC, and the structure of a PLC, influence teacher classroom responsibilities. Data collected included interviews, written narratives by teachers, and a review of formative assessment documents. The participants were 5 teachers, selected through a purposeful sampling of teachers from across the grade levels of kindergarten to Grade 8, who had actively participated in a PLC for a minimum of 1 year. The data was analyzed to determine themes. The findings confirmed that PLCs allow for the exploration of ideas within a small group and that professional development is necessary to develop PLCs that influence teacher responsibilities in all 4 domains by Danielson. Based on the findings and supporting literature, a 3-day workshop was developed to provide teachers with an improved understanding of PLCs and how they can support teachers in implementing appropriate instructional practices for all students. This effort may result in a collaborative school culture for teachers and significant improvement in student achievement due to the recurring cycles of collective inquiry.