Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


This report describes a program to develop a positive school climate in a small rural school division with two schools. The elementary school houses Kindergarten through Grade Six. The high school serves Grades Seven through Twelve. Problems originally noted included high levels of mistrust between the teachers and the administrators. Some groups such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and instructional aides thought they were not fully included. The parents and community members did not think of the schools as inviting. This intervention was designed to include two phases. The first phase was to design a plan with strategies to create a winning climate. The second was the implementation of the planned strategies. The targeted objectives were three. First to increase the scores by eight points in the Virginia Assessments in Grades One, Four, Eight and Eleven. Second to lower the number of disciplinary referrals to the principals by 50 percent. Third to improve the school climate in Highland County schools by 10 points as measured by the National Association of Secondary School Principals School Climate Survey. The division was able to place into practice those elements which foster a harmonious school climate. The three target objectives were set very high. Therefore, complete success was not achieved within the eighteen months time allotted. The test scores showed modest improvement overall for the four target grades. The number of disciplinary referrals increased due to a change of student behavior regulations brought about by the project. The improvement of the school as measured by the instrument selected was accomplished.

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