Catalysts for Change? Examining the Roles of Teacher Leaders and Learning Communities in Externally Created Professional Development Programs
Catherine Dunn Shiffman
School administrators and program developers continue to struggle with how promising innovations can be absorbed into a school’s professional culture and substantively transform individual practice. Drawing on case study data, this article examines the use of professional learning communities (PLCs) facilitated by teacher leaders to implement a formative assessment professional development program in the departments of an American high school. This approach created a promising scenario for engaging teachers. There was ongoing pressure, however, to prioritize departmental needs at the expense of fully exploring the content. To navigate these challenges, leaders needed additional content knowledge and a range of strategies and supports to deepen colleagues’ understanding.