Effects of consultation on professional learning communities
School consultation has been used to increase fidelity of implementation for team processes (Burns, Peters, & Noell, 2008) and resulting interventions (Noell, Witt, Gilbertson, Ranier, & Freeland, 1997). Professional learning communities are teacher teams with the overall purpose of changing educator behavior through collaborative engagement with colleagues and use of data to inform instructional practices (DuFour, Eaker, & DuFour, 2005; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2006). School-based teams, such as problem-solving teams, do not often follow implementation guidelines (Burns & Symington, 2002), thus hindering a crucial element of a successful response to intervention (RTI) model (Burns & Coolong-Chaffin, 2006). The discussion of student data and intervention strategies happening within PLCs is important for the continuation of an RTI model within schools (Burns & Gibbons, 2012). ... Each team was observed with the rubric using a multiple baseline design, including baseline, intervention, and maintenance phases. The intervention phase involved the researcher providing consultation on an identified area of weakness and guiding the team through an intervention, using an instructional consultation framework. The results from the study indicated a change in PLC implementation when consultation was added. Each team displayed an improvement in their implementation of PLC practices that was maintained after consultation ended. However, the improvements for each team during the intervention and maintenance phases were small, in comparison to the baseline phase. Future research is needed to determine the impact of consultation with PLCs on student outcomes. Implications for research and practice, limitations, and future directions are discussed.