Examining the conditions necessary to support collaborative professional development practices: one elementary school's story

This study provides insight into the conditions necessary for establishing effective, collaborative professional development practices at one school site. This qualitative study used interviews with selected participants to answer the guiding research questions: What is collaboration? How is collaboration supported at this site? What is hindering the collaborative process? What would make collaborative practices more effective? Interviews were conducted and transcribed. Data analysis involved highlighting and coding transcripts for major themes. The data analysis for this study identified 11 major themes. Six themes described the nature of collaborative practices for this site and how they are supported: (a) time, (b) discussion, (c) sharing, (d) access to student data, (e) student grouping, and (f) having a shared vision. Five themes described factors hindering collaborative practices: (a) lack of resources (time, funds, and data), (b) lack of a shared vision, (c) overload, (d) trust, and (e) inconsistency. Suggestions for future research and implications for administrators are discussed. Keywords: Collaboration, collaborative practices, professional development, professional learning communities, shared vision, time, student data.