School improvement in varying degrees and stages requires change. In order for schools to become successful, they must work toward building communities of learning and empowering teachers to lead this change. One way schools can build communities of learning is through the model of the professional learning community (PLC). The only way schools will improve is through the collaboration that takes place in learning communities. One of the purposes of this study was to explore the connections between schools functioning as PLCs and increases in student achievement, as recommended in Grider's (2008) work. The participating schools worked together as PLCs since 2005. High school teachers have significantly lower mean perception scores than either elementary or junior high school teachers. Filipino teachers have significantly higher mean perception scores than either Caucasian or teachers from other ethnic-racial backgrounds. Pacific Islander teachers had significantly higher mean perception scores than Caucasian teachers. Years of teaching experience was only related to the teacher's level of agreement. Female teachers had significantly higher levels of agreement. Older teachers had significantly higher levels of agreement. Elementary teachers had significantly higher levels of agreement. Future research should examine relationships among teachers' perceptions at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. Continued professional development is recommended for elementary, junior high, and high schools in the areas that teachers responded to least favorably. Further research should be conducted to examine the relationships among teachers' perceptions based on ethnicity, gender, and age. More professional development is recommended to improve teacher relationships as they relate to ethnicity, gender, and age and to increase awareness and improve skills in cultural proficiency and sensitivity. Future research can include a study to determine the impact of school leadership on PLCs, parent perceptions of PLCs in their schools, and to examine elementary and junior high schools' implementation of PLCs compared to high schools. It is the hope that by improving upon the professional development activities and experiences for all teachers, teachers' perceptions about the degree to which their schools function as PLCs will be determined by improved practices in teaching and learning.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration and policy; Professional learning communities; Education -- Saipan

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Barner, Robert R.;