Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Whitney Newcomb
Dr. Jonathan Becker
Dr. Lynn Myers
Dr. Jody Davis
AN EXAMINATION OF WHAT PRINCIPALS DO TO CREATE A POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE FOR TEACHERS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS AND HOW TEACHERS PERCEIVE THOSE EFFORTS
By Carol Anne H. Ziolkowski, Ph.D.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2015
Director: Whitney Sherman Newcomb, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Educational Leadership
School of Education
This qualitative study of elementary school climate explored the actions principals take to create or maintain a positive school climate for their teachers and teachers’ perceptions of those efforts. The study included individual interviews of four elementary school principals to determine what they intentionally did to create or maintain a positive school climate. Next, focus group interviews of general education teachers from within the four participating schools were conducted to determine how teachers perceived the efforts of the principals. The findings in three of the four schools indicated several discrepancies between perceptions of the participating principals and teachers. While teachers acknowledged and appreciated some of the efforts of the principals, the teachers did not recognize those efforts as contributing to the climate of the school. The participants of the fourth school shared perceptions that the efforts of the principal had created a positive school climate. The principal maintained an open-door policy and built strong relationships with faculty members. The teachers perceived those efforts as contributing to the positive climate of the school.
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