Exploring the Importance of Effective Leadership in School Transformation into a Professional Learning Community and its Impact on Students’ Academic Progress

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
This study explores the important role that school leadership plays throughout the process of school transformation from a traditional teaching approach to professional learning communities. It emphasizes the importance of having an effective leadership team to lead the transformation process and to set the vision and goals of the approach, provide all the needed support, and create the right environment for the transformation to be successful. This study acknowledges the need for schools to develop better methods of professional development for staff to support their move away from traditional teaching models. Drawing on a comprehensive review of relevant literature, this research examines the key characteristics of effective leadership needed to ensure the successful transition of schools into PLCs. It explores the leadership strategies utilized by leadership teams to establish an effective culture of collaboration, collective inquiry, and ongoing professional development for educators. The study also investigates the different challenges these leaders might face during the school’s transformation process. In addition to that the study assesses the impact of school’s PLCs on students' academic progress and their learning outcomes. The study uses a mixed-methods research design to investigate two American curriculum schools in the northern emirates of UAE and their journey in moving from traditional approaches to PLCs. The qualitative data analysis is derived from interviews conducted with different stakeholders in the schools including, teachers, middle leaders, and senior leaders. The quantitative data analysis focused on students’ results on the MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress) benchmark test before and after the implementation of the PLCs. The findings of this study showed a direct relationship between the support provided by the leadership team and the successful implementation of PLCs within the school. The implications of this study are relevant to schools that are seeking to enhance school improvement and improve student achievement. The study shows the importance of effective leadership and the support provided by the leadership team in ensuring the success of PLCs to improve teaching and learning practices and how successful PLCs impact students learning outcomes.
effective leadership, school transformation, professional learning community, academic progress