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The Transformation from Interdisciplinary Team to Professional Learning Community: The Perspective of the Middle School Principal

Guarino, Joseph A (2009) The Transformation from Interdisciplinary Team to Professional Learning Community: The Perspective of the Middle School Principal. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation of professional learning communities which are a reform effort currently in middle level education. The researcher used an electronic survey to gather data to examine the extent to which a transformation from the traditional interdisciplinary team to a professional learning community was occurring. The Western Region of the Pennsylvania Middle School Association provided assistance in identifying a sample and accessing participants. The researcher developed five research questions that guided the study. Research questions were designed to assist in determining what role the principal assumed in guiding and supporting the team within the building and how the principal functioned as a member of the team. Also, the research questions were designed to aid in determining what activities teams were presently engaged in and how those activities related to professional learning and an atmosphere of collegiality. The results of the study demonstrated that a transformation was occurring as traditional interdisciplinary teams were operating within the context of professional learning communities. Furthermore, the results indicated the principal plays a vital role in supporting and nurturing this transformation and the principal's actions correlate with the success or failure of a professional learning community. Principal support is needed in providing time for the community to meet, assisting the community in maintaining a focus on student achievement, remaining dedicated to the professional learning community therefore working to support their needs as the community develops. These results support the need to further examine the role of professional learning communities in middle level education. Middle schools which currently contain interdisciplinary teams provide a natural setting in which to begin a professional learning community because the staff structure and teaming mentality already exist. However, further research would aid in determining the essential steps required to make the transformation from interdisciplinary team to professional learning community. This study suggests the transformation is possible given the proper support.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Guarino, Joseph
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHughes, Seanshughes@pitt.eduSHUGHES
Committee MemberTrovato, Charlenetrovato@pitt.eduTROVATO
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberGraf, Ottoograf@pitt.eduOGRAF
Date: 10 December 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 17 November 2009
Approval Date: 10 December 2009
Submission Date: 21 November 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: professional learning community; middle school; interdisciplinary team; middle level education; team structure
Other ID:, etd-11212009-153237
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:05
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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