Date of Award

Spring 4-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Terry Stewart

Second Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt


The significance of the study was to examine intentional strategies to improve school climate relative to student school success as measured by academic achievement, attendance, and student behavior. It was important to understand how student school success was affected by factors related to school climate improvement such as leadership and change processes, initiatives to improve student sense of safety and connectedness, and factors such as time, relationships, grade span, and alignment in academic focus. Understanding how school climate could promote student school success was significant in this study, as was an understanding of the differences between school culture and climate to clarify the interchangeable use of these terms. A review of literature presented culture as beliefs, norms, values, ceremonies, and rituals, while climate was presented as measurable effects related to programs, practices, and structures within the school setting. The problem at the school of study was that student surveys indicated significant concerns with school safety and belonging, and the school had consistently failed to meet adequate academic progress. The success of the students at the mid-western suburban school of 730 students required that school leaders and staff understand the compelling nature of the school’s data in order to motivate change, and to understand the process for change and the resources needed to improve school climate and student school success. Efforts to bring about school climate change in this study consisted of an intentional, integrated, and multi-faceted approach of leadership influence in improving age iii appropriate school climate, improving adult and student relationships through climate improvement initiatives, and increased and aligned academic focus. The results were that the intentional, multi-faceted, and integrated approach to school climate change at the school of study led to measurable improvement in indicators of school climate. The climate improvement accompanied statistically significant improvement in student school success after the first year and into the second year of the study, as measured by indicators of improved academic achievement, decreased discipline incidents, and improved attendance rates. Because of the limited scope of the study, further investigation of this intentional, multi-faceted, and integrated approach is recommended.


Copyright 2011