Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. Wayne Williams

Third Committee Member

Dr. Janice Warren

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


School climate, more than other factors, determines efficiency. Building a positive school climate means creating conditions both for instructional leaders and teachers, which leads to student success. When teachers feel supported, safe, motivated, and satisfied with their outcomes, their work becomes more effective in a positive climate. In the light of much research, leaders in schools with a positive climate pay attention to the academic outcomes measured by mandated state assessments as well as the social and emotional well-being of every student and adult. The outcome of creating and maintaining a positive school climate has been studied and linked to many significant issues for school stakeholders, such as teachers, instructional leaders, and students. Researchers have demonstrated that a positive school climate may be linked to better academic performance by students, higher teacher morale, and a decrease in discipline issues. However, little research has been conducted to provide teachers and instructional leaders with specific practices they can implement to help create a school climate that is conducive to learning every day. Therefore, this study was designed to assess factors that impact and help create a positive middle school climate based on the perception of instructional leaders and teachers. In this study, data collection was achieved through personal interviews with instructional leaders and teachers in a middle school setting to identify the factors that impact school climate. Five major themes emerged from the conversations with participants. The first theme was the building of positive relationships between the instructional leader and teachers. The second theme was safety; participants expressed how important it was to work in a safe and secure environment. The third theme that emerged was leadership. Does leadership have the most significant impact on creating a positive school climate? The fourth theme emerging was discipline. The lack of discipline can create an adverse climate. The fifth theme that emerged was parental involvement. These themes emerged from the perceptions of the participants that these were the influential factors in creating and maintaining a positive school climate in a middle school setting.