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ERIC Number: ED514669
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 170
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-1947-5
Professional Learning Communities: A Middle School Model
Gentile, David N.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rowan University
This research project explored the transition from a traditional model to a Professional Learning Community model in a NJ Middle School. The administration overcame obstacles during the transition such as scheduling conflicts, teacher apathy, and resistance. This action research study gathered data to determine how to best structure the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to solicit the teachers' approval. Multiple changes were made to the PLCs based on the data, but one discovery above all others resulted in a true transformation of the school culture. I discovered that the time of the meeting mattered little if the teachers and administrators continued working as adversaries. The formation of the Excellence Committee, a stakeholder leadership forum, began a new era of unity. The Professional Learning Communities began to thrive as a result. According to Deal (1999), toxic cultures become focused on negative values. Deal states that teachers and staff spend their energies protecting themselves, hiding out, or withholding participation. Deal cautions that transforming a toxic culture is a risky and scary undertaking. The discoveries I made through this research revealed how a toxic school culture was poisoning all progress. As a result of this project the thick line which once clearly divided sides between the administration and the staff faded away. Educators left their egos and ranks at the door and entered a new era dedicated to providing an excellent education to all students. As the leader of this project, I explored how my espoused theories on leadership compared with my theories-in-use (Argyris & Schon, 1974; Osterman & Kottkamp, 2004). I utilized reflective journaling, interviews, and feedback from the Leadership Practices Inventory (Kouzes & Posner, 2006). I found that my espoused theories were similar to my theories-in-use. I have evolved into a better leader as a result of the lessons learned while leading this project. I have looked honestly into the mirror and conscientiously made changes for the better. These changes include systematically approaching problem solving and establishing a platform for involving all members of our school community. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey