Thesis

Positive school climate: changing the culture of one high school

The purpose of this study was to examine and explore the process and procedures used by school administrators, teachers, and other staff members involved with creating and maintaining a positive school climate. The intent of this study was to research one suburban high school in order to discover ways to help improve the climate of the campus. Qualitative data was collected through individual interviews with the principal, Athletic Director, Associated Student Body Director, a classified employee, and four teachers. This study provides an overview of literature on the need for a positive school climate, symptoms of negative school climates, characteristics of schools with positive climates, principal roles, teacher roles, and actions taken to create positive school climates. Principals must make certain they execute their designated leadership role and create a sense of direction for the school. Their campuses should have an atmosphere of high expectations for all students by all teachers and should also be safe and secure places where students and staff feel comfortable attending. This can only be achieved if principals collaborate with and listen to teachers and other staff members. The job of creating a positive school climate can not be achieved by the principal alone. The findings in this study revealed many similarities in the participant responses. Related themes important to the climate changes on this campus include: sports and extracurricular activities; high expectations and a focus on academics for all students; teacher collaboration and school wide teamwork; a new tardy policy; and, along with other members of the school staff, the initiative of one main person.

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