Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Yinying Wang, Ed.D

Second Advisor

Nicolas Sauers, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Dustin Dykes, Ed.D


In July 2017, the state of Georgia implemented a teacher certification renewal program that required educators to participate in a job-embedded professional learning communities (PLCs) facilitated by local school districts. This study investigated the shared instructional leadership behaviors and teacher collaboration found in effective PLCs in one high-needs high school in Georgia. The administrators of the high-needs high school selected for the study, point to the work of their established PLCs as being responsible for a 16% increase in graduation rates over a 3-year period. This inquiry used quantitative data from the Teacher Collaboration Assessment Rubric (TCAR; Woodland, 2016), which assesses 15 content-specific PLCs and data collected from a Likert scale teacher questionnaire. The TCAR and teacher questionnaire quantitatively assess each PLC by looking at four categories of collaboration: dialogue, decision making, action, and evaluation. The study used the principles of shared instructional leadership to investigate the behaviors that are prominent in established PLCs. A multiple regression analysis was used to predict the effectiveness of PLCs based on teacher collaboration as measured by the teacher questionnaire. Along with addressing a void in the literature regarding high school PLCs, this study provides a perspective on a state-mandated change to professional development. The results demonstrate that teacher collaboration has a statistically significant impact on predicting effective PLCs in a high-needs high school.