Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Michael Wischnowski, PhD

Second Supervisor

Deborah Leh, EdD


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to examine the perceptions of 18 rural high school singleton teacher participants who worked in districts that had implemented the professional learning community (PLC) framework and to assess if there was a relationship between the teachers’ perception of collective efficacy and the PLCs—despite the potential of limiting the organizational structures within their schools. A mixed-methods explanatory sequential case study in one rural high school with the designation of a Model PLC School was used to conduct the research. The participants reported a significant positive correlation between the variables of instructional practice, student behavior, and collective efficacy. Additionally, the results also indicated that gender plays a role in the levels of perceived collective efficacy. Furthermore, four themes and 10 subthemes emerged as important from the qualitative focus group. The first theme was structures of a PLC, with subthemes of (a) leadership and expectations and (b) professional development. The second theme was collaboration, with the following subthemes: (a) teaming, sharing strategies and support, (b) collective responsibility, (c) data driven collaborative decision making, and (d) student-centered. The third theme was benefits, with subthemes of (a) collegiality and (b) improved outcomes. The fourth and final theme was challenges and included a) singletons and b) lack of buy-in as subthemes. Confirming that teachers reported higher levels of collective efficacy while working in a PLC, the findings provided the basis for recommendations involving future research, rural administrators, rural teachers, and professional development.

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