Schools exist for the sole purpose of academic achievement, and within every school exists a unique culture that every student navigates and absorbs. It is reasonable to assume a student’s environment and the expectations set forth in that environment may have an effect on their academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to determine the elements of rural middle school culture and their potential impact on academic achievement as perceived by administration at a high achieving rural middle school. A rural middle school in Eastern Oregon was chosen for this study. This school received a rating of “Outstanding” on the 2011–12 Oregon State Report Card, and when the report card rating system changed, they received a rating of “5” out of 5, which is above average on the 2012–13 and 2013–14 Oregon State Report Cards, identifying them as high achieving. Oregon did not assign ratings to schools for the 2014–15 report cards due to the transition between types of state testing, but this school performed higher than the state targets in all tested areas. This qualitative case study was conducted using four days of observations, surveys, interviews, a focus group, pictures, and field notes. The administration interviews and surveys were used to gain perspective on their perception of the school culture and its relation to the academic success experienced. The student focus group, parent and teacher surveys, observations, pictures, and field notes were used to triangulate the data to determine support or non-support for the administrative perspective. The results of this research indicated that the administration at this high achieving rural middle school perceives the research-based elements of culture, Unity of Vision, Role of Communication, Behavior Management, and Students Feel Safe/Cared For, as present in their school culture and responsible for student achievement. Administration also perceives they practice the transformational leadership elements of Building Collaborative Relationships, Holding High Performance Expectations, and Developing Shared Vision and Building Consensus most predominantly and these help foster the culture they attribute to their academic achievement. These perceptions were corroborated in full or part by teachers, students, and the researcher as shown through the survey, focus group, and observation data.
|Commitee:||Teske, Kasey, Wiles, Greg|
|School:||Northwest Nazarene University|
|School Location:||United States -- Idaho|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Rural middle school, School climate, School culture, Transformational leadership|
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