An Examination of Qualities of Effective Professional Learning Communities in Urban Schools
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This study seeks to identify characteristics of effective Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in urban schools. Beginning with a body of research on education reform, challenges faced by urban schools, and implementation of PLCs, this study analyzes five case studies of PLCs in urban, Title I schools from the literature and develops a model of characteristics of effective PLCs using a grounded theory approach. Findings indicate six characteristics of effective PLCs: administration, collaboration, relationships, focus, teacher beliefs, and support. In effective PLCs, administrators regularly interact with the PLC through collaboration. Effective PLCs also exhibit strong accountability structures and support systems. This research indicates the role of administrative leadership in PLCs of striking a balance between holding teachers accountable for improving their practices and providing the supports necessary in order for them to do so. It also indicates the importance of PLCs as a structure for increasing communication between teachers and administrators.