An Examination of the Perceptions Leading to the Sustainability of Professional Learning Communities in a Rural School District

Mildred T. Bankhead-Smith, Gardner-Webb University


Principals and teacher leaders are expected to provide many learning opportunities for the colleagues with which they work and for the students they teach. The model employed to empower teachers to grow in the education profession and improve collaboration among colleagues and facilitate collegial conversation is the Professional Learning Community (PLC). The PLC model is exercised in many schools throughout the United States. As schools employee the PLC model, levels of leadership change, and teachers may or may not grow professionally. Though schools attempt to implement positive change, the sustainability of professional development can be in jeopardy.

This non-experimental, quantitative study is designed to investigate principals', assistant principals', and teachers' perceptions of PLCs as opportunities for sustainable, effective professional growth within the district. The study applies the use of PLC Assessment-Revised (PLCA-R) online survey. The PLCA-R (Oliver, Hipp, & Huffman, 2008) was utilized to determine perception and sustainability of PLCs.