Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Geri Chesner

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Elkordy

Third Advisor

Dr. Don Angelaccio


Professional Learning Communities are essential to building interdependent collaborative teacher teams to elevate teaching and learning for students. One struggle with implementing PLCs comes about when you have singleton teachers who do not have a colleague who teaches the same grade and content as them. This study reviewed the research-based PLC implementation strategies used at one small middle school. The main research question was: How can PLCs work effectively for small middle schools and singleton teachers? Other related questions were:

● How can PLCs feel relevant to our elective area teachers?

● What determines a successful PLC?

● Should middle schools prioritize PLC teams over grade-level teams?

● How can a middle school schedule allow for both PLC and Grade Level Teams?

This study included a focus group with the Building Leadership Team, another with the PLC Team Leaders, an interview with the district’s curriculum director, a PLC consultant survey administered in the fall and spring, and a general PLC survey provided in the summer. The overall findings of this study were that PLCs have a positive impact on our climate and culture, they are significantly impacted by teacher buy-in, teachers who have a job-a-like partner have stronger PLC implementation than singleton teachers, and it is necessary to keep the middle school model of grade-level teaming in place in addition to PLCs.

The recommendations suggested were first to create a weekly late start schedule. The next recommendation was to create more job-a-like partnerships. Another recommendation was to increase the team’s abilities to answer the four critical questions of a PLC by having professional development around differentiation to encourage better tier-one instructional practices. The final recommendation was to encourage our PLC team’s forward progress by creating clear systems and expectations while the administration is significantly engaged and participating in the teaming.