Research that Supports SRI’s Core Concepts*


The research that supports SRI’s core concepts can be usefully divided into 8 broad categories:


1. The connections between collaborative  school cultures and student learning

This literature makes the case that that there are strong connections between the ways that adults work and learn together, and student learning.


Bryk, A. S. (2010). Organizing Schools for Improvement. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(7), 23-30.

Bryk, A. S., Harding, H., & Greenberg, S. (2012). Contextual Influences on Inquiries into Effective Teaching and Their Implications for Improving Student Learning. Harvard Educational Review, 82(1), 83-106.

Bryk, A. S., & Schneider, B. (2003). Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for School Reform. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 40-44.

Bryk, A. S., Sebring, P. B., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., & Easton, J. Q. (2010). Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Daly, A. J., & Chrispeels, J. (2008). A Question of Trust: Predictive Conditions for Adaptive and Technical Leadership in Educational Contexts. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 7(1), 30-63.

Leithwood, K., Louis, K. S., Anderson, S., & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How leadership influences student learning. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Center for Applied Research & Educational Improvement, Institute for Studies in Education.

McDonald, J. P. (2014). American school reform: What works, what fails and why. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

McLaughlin, M., & Talbert, J. (2001). Professional Communities and the Work of High School Teaching. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.

McLaughlin, M., & Talbert, J. (2006). Building school-based teacher learning communities: Strategies to improve student achievement. New York: Teachers College Press.

Newmann, F. (1994). School-wide Professional Community. Issues in Restructuring Schools(6).

Newmann, F., & Wehlage, G. (1995). Successful school restructuring. Madison: Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools.

Sebring, P. B., Allensworth, E., Bryk, A. S., Easton, J. Q., & Luppescu, S. (2006). The Essential Supports for School Improvement. Research Report: Consortium on Chicago School Research.


2. Adult Learning

This literature describes the ways that adults learn with and from each other, and how that learning is supported and sustained.


Breidenstein, A., Fahey, K., Glickman, C., & Hensley, F. (2012). Leading for Powerful Learning: A Guide for Instructional Leaders. New York: Teachers College Press.

Drago-Severson, E. (2004). Becoming Adult Learners: Principles and Practices for Effective Development: Teachers College Press.

Drago-Severson, E. (2008). 4 practices serve as pillars for adult learning. Journal of Staff Development, 29((4), 60-63.

Frank, K. A., Zhao, Y., Penuel, W. R., Ellefson, N., & Porter, S. (2011). Focus, Fiddle, and Friends: Experiences that Transform Knowledge for the Implementation of Innovations. Sociology of Education, 84(2), 137-156.

Guskey, T. R. (2009). Closing the Knowledge Gap on Effective Professional Development. Educational Horizons, 87(4), 224-233.

Guskey, T. R., & Yoon, K. S. (2009). What Works in Professional Development? Phi Delta Kappan, 90(7), 495-500.

Helsing, D., Howell, A., Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2008). Putting the “Development” in Professional Development: Understanding and Overturning Educational Leaders’ Immunities to Change. Harvard Educational Review, 78(3), 437-465.

Kegan, R. (1998). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Thessin, R. A., & Starr, J. P. (2011). Supporting the Growth of Effective Professional Learning Communities Districtwide. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(6), 48-54.


3. Transformational learning

Transformational learning theory describes the process by which adults surface, explore and rethink fundamental assumptions to guide practice.


Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series.

Wiestling, T. L. (2010). The Relationship between Transformational Leadership Practices and Developing a Professional Learning Community. ProQuest LLC. Retrieved from Available from EBSCOhost eric database.


4. Professional Learning Communities

Intentional Learning Communities are a more articulated and transformational version of the PLC concept.


Bryk, A., Camburn, E., & Louis, K. S. (1997). Professional Community in Chicago Elementary Schools: Facilitating Factors and Organizational Consequences. Revised. Final Deliverable to OERI.

DuFour, R. (2007). Professional Learning Communities: A Bandwagon, an Idea Worth Considering, or Our Best Hope for High Levels of Learning? Middle School Journal, 39(1), 4-8.

Easton, L. B. (2011). Professional Learning Communities by Design: Putting the Learning Back into PLCs.Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin.

Hord, S. M. (2009). Professional Learning Communities: Educators Work Together toward a Shared Purpose. Journal of Staff Development, 30(1), 40-43.

Lieberman, A., & Miller, L. (2011). Learning Communities: The Starting Point for Professional Learning Is in Schools and Classrooms. Journal of Staff Development, 32(4), 16-20.

Liebman, H., Maldonado, N., Lacey, C. H., & Thompson, S. (2005). An Investigation of Leadership in a Professional Learning Community: A Case Study of a Large, Suburban, Public Middle School: Online Submission.

Servage, L. (2008). Critical and Transformative Practices in Professional Learning Communities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(1), 63-77.

Stoll, L., & Louis, K. S. (2007). Professional Learning Communities: Divergence, Depth and Dilemmas. Professional Learning: Open University Press.

Supovitz, J. A., & Christman, J. B. (2005). Small Learning Communities that Actually Learn: Lessons for School Leaders. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(9), 649.

Supovitz, J. A., Christman, J. B., & Consortium for Policy Research in Education, P. P. A. (2003). Developing Communities of Instructional Practice: Lessons from Cincinnati and Philadelphia. CPRE Policy Briefs. RB-39: Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

Wallach, C., & Gallucc, i. C. (2004). Elevating the Conversation: Building Professional Community in Small High Schools. Small Schools Project. Seattle: Gates Foundation.


5. Intentional Learning Communities

ILCs build adult learning and development in the service of educational equity and excellence.


Ballock, E. (2007). The Development and Evaluation of a Self-study Process for Critical Friends Groups. (Ph.D.), Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Burke, W., Marx, G. E., & Berry, J. E. (2011). Maintaining, Reframing, and Disrupting Traditional Expectations and Outcomes for Professional Development with Critical Friends Groups. Teacher Educator, 46(1), 32-52.

Cox, E. (2010). Critical Friends Groups: Learning Experiences for Teachers. School Library Monthly, 27(1), 32-34.

Curry, M. W. (2008). Critical Friends Groups: The Possibilities and Limitations Embedded in Teacher Professional Communities Aimed at Instructional Improvement and School Reform. Teachers College Record, 110(4), 733-774.

Dunne, F., Nave, B., & Lewis, A. (2000). Critical friends: Teachers helping to improve student learning. Phi Delta Kappa International Research Bulletin (CEDR), 28, 9-12.

Fahey, K. (2011). Still Learning about Leading: A Leadership Critical Friends Group. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 6(1), 1-35.

Fahey, K. (2012). Where Principals Dare to Dream: Critical Friends Group Narrows the Gap between Vision and Reality. Journal of Staff Development, 33(3), 28-30.

Moore, Julie A. and Carter-Hicks, Joya (2014). Let’s Talk! Facilitating a Faculty Learning Community Using a Critical Friends Group ApproachInternational Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 8: No. 2, Article 9. Available at:

Silva, P. (2005). A Day in the Life of Schoolwide CFGs. Educational Horizons, 84(1), 29-34.


6. Facilitation & Coaching

There is significant literature on effective facilitation and coaching and how they support adult learning.


Allen, D., & Blythe, T. (2004). The facilitator’s book of questions: Tools for looking together at student and teacher work. New York: Teachers College Press.

Costa, A. L., & Garmston, R. (2002). Cognitive coaching: A foundation for renaissance schools. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

Ippolito, J. (2013). Professional learning as the key to linking content and literacy instruction. In J. Ippolito, J. F. Lawrence & C. Zaller (Eds.), Adolescent literacy in the era of the common core: From research into practice (pp. 235-249). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Ippolito, J., & Pomerantz, F. (2013). Protocols as essential tools for literacy professional learning communities in the common core era. Massachusetts Reading Association Primer, 42(2).

Johnson, S. M. (2012). Having it both ways: Building the capacity of individual teachers and their schools. Harvard Educational Review, 82(1), 14.

Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development (3 ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Kaner, S. (2007). Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making (2 ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pomerantz, F., & Ippolito, J. (2015). Power tools for talking: Custom protocols enrich coaching conversations. JSD: Journal of Staff Development, 36(1), 40-43.


7. Protocols to guide learning

The skilled use of protocols is a characteristic of ILCs and effective facilitative leadership.


Blythe, T., Allen, D., & Powell, B. S. (2007). Looking Together at Student Work (2 ed.). New Yotk: Teachers College Press.

Colton, A. B., & Langer, G. M. (2005). Looking at Student Work. Educational Leadership, 62(5), 22.

Garrison, C. (2006). More than Paper Load: What Does All This Student Work Tell Us? National Middle School Association.

Given, H., Kuh, L., LeeKeenan, D., Mardell, B., Redditt, S., & Twombly, S. (2010). Changing School Culture: Using Documentation to Support Collaborative Inquiry. Theory Into Practice, 49.

Graham, B. I., & Fahey, K. (1999). School Leaders Look at Student Work. Educational Leadership, 56(6), 25-27.

Hatch, T., & Seidel, S. (1997). Putting Student Work on the Table. National Forum, 77(1), 18-21.

Little, J. W., Gearhart, M., Curry, M., & Kafka, J. (2003). Looking at Student Work for Teacher Learning, Teacher Community, and School Reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 85(3), 184-192.

McDonald, J. P., Mohr, N., Dichter, A., & McDonald, E. C. (2007). The Power of Protocols: An Educator’s Guide to Better Practice New York: Teachers College Press.


8. Educational Equity

Often the most challenging ILC work is around issues of educational equity.


Boykin, W., Noguera, P., & Association for Supervision and Curriculum, D. (2011). Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap: ASCD.

Casserly, M., Lewis, S., Simon, C., Uzzell, R., Palacios, M., & Council of the Great City, S. (2012). A Call for Change: Providing Solutions for Black Male Achievement: Council of the Great City Schools.

Delpit, L., & Dowdy, J. K. (2002). The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom.

Eubanks, E., Parish, R., & Smith, D. (1994). Changing the Discourse in Schools. In P. Hall (Ed.), Race, Ethnicity, and Multiculturalism: Policy and Practice. (pp. 35-35). Columbia, MO: University of Missouri.

Garrison, C. (2006). More than Paper Load: What Does All This Student Work Tell Us?

Graham, B. I., & Fahey, K. (1999). School Leaders Look at Student Work. Educational Leadership, 56(6), 25-27.

Helsing, D., Howell, A., Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2008). Putting the “Development” in Professional Development: Understanding and Overturning Educational Leaders’ Immunities to Change. Harvard Educational Review, 78(3), 437-465.

Hilliard, A. (1992). Behavioral Style, Culture, and Teaching and Learning. The Journal of Negro Education, 61(3), 7.

Hilliard, A. (1995). Do we have the will to educate all children? The maroon within us: Selected essays on African American community socialization. Baltimore, MD: Black Caucus Press.

Kozol, J., Tatum, B. D., Eaton, S., & Gandara, P. (2010). Resegregation: What’s the Answer? Educational Leadership, 68(3), 28-31.

Noguera, P. (2003). The trouble with black boys: The role and influence of environmental and cultural factors n the academic performance of African American males. Urban Education, 38(4), 28.

Noguera, P. A. (2012). Saving Black and Latino Boys: What Schools Can Do to Make a Difference. Phi Delta Kappan, 93(5), 8-12.

Quintero, Esther. (2014). Do students learn more when their teachers work well together? The Washington Post, September 10, 2014.

Sokolower, J. (2012). “Multiplication Is for White People”: An Interview with Lisa Delpit. Rethinking Schools, 27(1), 25-28.

Tatum, B. D. (1997). “Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?” and other converastions about race. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

West, C. (2001). Race Matters. Boston MA: Beacon Press.


* Included in these materials are various articles that cite historical literature concerning critical friends groups, critical friendship, and or critical friends. CRITICAL FRIENDS GROUP ® is a registered trademark of Harmony School Corporation.