Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Kirby, Peggy

Second Advisor

Riedlinger, Brian

Third Advisor

Oescher, Jeffrey

Fourth Advisor

Haydel, Juanita


In an era of school reform it should not be uncommon for educators to review every strategy or tool to initiate changes that will result in increased student achievement and school improvement. The rhetoric is that the changes begin with the federal government, state board of education, local school board, superintendent, and central office, but the reality is that the changes must begin at the doors of the school. In the school, the changes must begin with the staff, students, and the parents. The school community must become alive with learning among the staff, students and parents. The school staff must see themselves as a community of learners, where the entire school learns together. The term used to describe a school where the faculty sees themselves as a community of learners is a "professional learning community" (Hord, 2004, p. 1). The purpose of this study is to determine how one school can become a professional learning community through the implementation of whole faculty study groups and peer observation. Professional learning communities do exist, but the manner in which they are created is nebulous. This study sought to evaluate a senior high school staff as they underwent the process of creating a professional learning community through the development of whole faculty study groups and peer observation. A questionnaire was given to the staff before, during, and after the implementation of peer observation and whole faculty study groups. A comparison was made of the results from the questionnaires over time. Critical incidents create the basis for an action research case study methodology. The critical incidents were ascertained through focus groups.


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