Date of Award

Spring 1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Hutcheson

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Beth Kania-Gosche

Abstract

This program evaluation of Caring School Community was conducted by two educators who studied the implementation of this character education program in an elementary school. In an effort to foster a culture of respect and kindness, where students, staff, and parents are treated as valued, contributing members of the school community, the school of study implemented a character education program called Caring School Community. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the success of the implementation of Caring School Community and its possible impact on student attendance, student discipline, and positive behavior referrals. The evaluation of this program involved observing classroom instruction to track student engagement, teacher engagement, instructional climate, and lesson plan completion using Ewalk, a computerized walk through tool and the results of student, parent, and staff surveys. All third through fifth grade students completed computerized surveys to determine the success of implementation based on their sense of autonomy, belonging, and competence. This study examined the results of implementing Caring School Community and its effect on student attendance, student discipline, and positive behavior referrals. The companion dissertation examined results of implementing Caring School Community and its effect on student achievement. Caring School Community is a research-based K-6 program, which has four components: class meetings, cross aged buddy activities, homeside activities, and schoolwide community-building activities. iv The fidelity of implementation of Caring School Community was measured using a computerized walk through tool to track classroom observations and student, parent, and staff surveys. Those results were compared with student attendance, student discipline, positive behavior referrals, and student achievement data prior to and at the conclusion of the study of Caring School Community implementation. The findings of this study indicated that implementation of Caring School Community had no statistical impact on student attendance, student discipline, positive behavior referrals, or student achievement two years after implementation. The investigators made suggestions to be considered for future research: conduct this study for a longer period of time, provide professional development prior to the beginning of the school year, provide leadership opportunities for teachers, study several cohort groups or several schools with similar demographics, and encourage ongoing administrative support and participation.

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