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Professional development for school administrators: Effects on school climate

Ann Borowiec-Koczera, Johnson & Wales University


School administrators have long been considered to be the educational leaders of the community. It is the school administrator's role to set the tone, or climate, of the building. Moore (1998) stated that there is a strong link between principal's leadership behavior and school climate. A positive school climate correlates strongly with increased student achievement and motivation (Stolp, 1994). Beck and Murphy (1993) observed that the metaphors of school leadership have changed frequently over the years. No sooner have school administrators assimilated one recommended approach when they are seemingly urged to move in a different direction. State Department of Education and State Legislatures are concerned with the impact the school leader has on the total educational program, and passage of incentives such as the Educational Reform Act of 1993 in Massachusetts, has resulted in the restructuring of many school systems. To accomplish this goal, a large amount of resources have been allocated to finance professional development activities for administrators. However, limited research exists as to the "returns on investments" for such funding. The purpose of this research is to see what effects professional development for administrators has on school climate. This research project is ex post facto. Research data was collected from the responses obtained from three different distributions of a questionnaire. The research questions addressed were: (1) What are the characteristics of a positive and supportive school climate? (2) What relationship exists between school leadership and school climate? and (3) What differences exist over a three year period with respect to administrative attitudes within the school climate? In response to research question one, means, standard deviations, and range of scores were calculated. The subscales that received the most favorable responses were teacher-student relations and student activities, while the lowest scores were student behavioral values and parent and community-school relations. In response to research question two, a correlation matrix was used. Results showed the subscale administration with strong correlations in six out of a possible 8 subscales. When combining the total correlations over the three year period, administration had the third highest possible correlations. These results show the significant impact administration has over all aspect of school climate. For research question three, several statistical tests and procedures such as the one sample t-test, independent group analysis ANOVA, Scheffe Multiple Comparisons, and the Krushal Wallis Non Parametric Independent Group Comparisons were performed and calculated. All showed little difference in the scores between 1996 and 1999. Three was however, a difference in scores from 1996 and 1998, and then again from 1998 and 1999. With professional development for administrators, school climate improved between the year 1998, (M=2.54) and 1999 (M=3.71). By analyzing the responses of this questionnaire, this study showed that the school administrators participation in professional development activities had a positive impact on school climate.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Borowiec-Koczera, Ann, "Professional development for school administrators: Effects on school climate" (2001). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3270293.