SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES: PRACTICES OF PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES FROM SCHOOL LEADERS’ PERSPECTIVES
Main Article Content
Professional learning communities (PLCs) have continuously been instrumental in fostering a culture of collaboration and in developing capable teachers towards achieving improved students’ learning outcomes. Though PLCs remain to be a promising initiative, sustaining such program in the long run requires effective leadership practices. This qualitative study aims to explore the practices employed by elementary school leaders in the United States in the full implementation of their PLC programs. Interview sessions were conducted with four principals and four teacher leaders from four elementary schools. The responses from the interviews were triangulated with observations of PLC meetings. Using Atlas.ti, the data collected from the interviews and observations were thematically analysed. Based on the findings, the school leaders employed the following practices in the initial phase of the PLC: set and share mission and vision; provide opportunities for staff development; encourage collaboration; work towards cultural building; and promote self-reflection. For the support phase, the school leaders share leadership responsibilities, de-privatised practice, and ensure supportive conditions while they sustain positive school culture and climate and use control process mechanisms in the sustain phase of the PLC implementation. Subsequently, the practices and perspectives shared by the school leaders could serve as a guide in long-term, sustainable implementation of PLC programs.