Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Peter J. Cistone

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor's Name

Roger Gonzalez

Third Advisor's Name

Hilary Landorf

Fourth Advisor's Name

Joan Wynne

Keywords

school climate, principal leadership, school performance, teacher survey

Date of Defense

11-8-2011

Abstract

The climate of a school can be defined as the set of internal characteristics that distinguishes one school from another and influences the behavior of its members (Hoy & Hannum, 1997). Schools with a positive climate have been shown to positively impact students (Hoy, 1972). A principal’s leadership style influences the climate that, in turn, impacts student performance.

In this work, the researcher investigated Miami-Dade County Public Schools in order to determine if there was a relationship between instructional staff members’ perceptions of their school’s principals, a derivative of the district’s school climate studies, and their schools’ grades.

Eight School Climate Survey items were inter-correlated. The smallest intercorrelation was .83, which is still a large intercorrelation, and the largest intercorrelation was .96. Pearson’s correlation analysis (Healey, 2004) was run to determine the relationship between schools’ earned points and averaged survey responses. Survey items 8, 9, 12 and 13 had weak (less than .30) positive correlations to schools’ earned points. Survey items 7, 10, 11 and 14 had moderate (above .30) positive correlations to schools’ earned points.

The researcher created a composite variable (Pallant, 2007) from all the School Climate Survey responses. This composite variable, titled Principal Leadership Score, allowed the researcher to determine that approximately 9% of the variance in the points earned by schools in 2009 can be accounted for by how teachers in this study perceived the leadership of their principals.

This study’s findings of a moderate positive correlation between teachers’ perceptions of principal leadership and school performance supports earlier research linking school climate and school performance. Due to the fact that the leadership of the principal affects, either positively or negatively, the learning and working environment of students and teachers, it is recommended that principals use the eight School Climate Survey items examined within this study as guides (Pepper & Thomas, 2002). Through focusing on these survey items, principals may be propelled to self-identify their leadership strengths as well as leadership weaknesses.

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