A qualitative study of implementation and sustainability factors of professional learning communities on campus accountability and improvement
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This study addressed the need for an investigation of implementation and sustainability factors of Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in campus accountability and improvement. The campus under investigation was a single rural, small elementary school with an “Improvement Required” (IR) rating from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The researcher employed a qualitative case study design to explore factors to be considered in the implementation of PLCs, strategies to consider, and what best practices to utilize by campus administration when implementing and sustaining PLCs in a rural, small school setting. The findings of this case study provided a more in-depth look into factors and strategies that rural, small school campus administrators should consider when implementing PLCs. A qualitative survey, semi-structured interviews, and PLC and classroom observations were utilized to gather data from 18 participants which included teachers, campus and district administrators, and a Texas Education Agency Professional Service Provider. Findings of the study revealed that factors such as strong leadership and campus structure, function, and processes should be considered when implementing Professional Learning Communities in a rural, elementary campus. Furthermore, the teaching staff participating in the PLC process revealed that collaboration was critical and utilized when implementing the PLC process. Other themes that emerged included teacher buy-in, educator empowerment, and development of a campus PLC vision and goals.