A Study of Relationships among Teachers' Perceptions of Principal Leadership and Teachers' Perceptions of School Climate in the High School Setting
AuthorPaul, Jeffrey M.
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The school principal is viewed as one of the most influential individuals on a school campus (Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, & Pickeral, 2009; Edmonds, 1979; Leech & Fulton, 2008). With this influence, the principal plays a great role in facilitating the climate of the school; which in turn, can have a significant impact on student achievement (MacNeil, Prater, & Busch, 2009). The purpose of this study was to explore high school teachers' perceptions about leadership practices of their principals, as well as to gain an understanding of the teachers' perceptions of school climate in a large urban district in the Western United States. Data was collected with the use of two survey instruments, the Leadership Practices Inventory, which measures the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, and the Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire revised for secondary schools, which measures five dimensions of high school climate. Participating teachers were asked five demographic questions including: age, gender, number of years teaching, number of years teaching with current principal, and level of education. The schools with participating teachers were categorized by three other variables: total response rates, School Performance Framework scores, and the percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. Across nine high schools, 334 useable surveys were collected. Pearson correlations were used to find relationships among variables within the survey instruments, while MANOVA calculations with appropriate ANOVA post hoc were used to find differences in demographic variables. It was found that engaged teacher behavior coupled with principals who model expectations and give authentic, goal aligned encouragement related to high levels of positive school climate. Additionally, data suggested schools whose teachers perceived their principal in a negative manner related to low levels of school climate regardless of the socioeconomic make-up of the student body.