Date of Conferral







Brian Cesario


Research has indicated that there is a direct link between student academic achievement and school quality. Research has also indicated that the leadership style of school principals influence teacher attributes, from adeptness and job contentment to academic focus and engagement levels. Even though the research on professional learning communities (PLCs) is extensive, there is a gap in the study of the perceptions that teachers and teacher leaders have on the essential dimensions that make up a community of learners and on whether the existing climate has an influence on making such a community possible within a school. The purpose of this quantitative nonexperimental study was to explore whether there are predominant characteristics, based on teacher perceptions of school climate, that affirmed the existence of schools with the PLC dimensions ingrained in teacher practice. Teachers from five middle schools in one north central Georgia school district answered a survey that combined the Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire for Middle Schools (OCDQ-RM) and the School Professional Staff as Learning Community Questionnaire (SPSaLCQ). The findings indicated a statistically significant relationship between the school climate and the degree of PLC dimensions. The principal’s behavior had an impact on the teacher’s perception of school climate and the student's achievements. The findings supported prior literature on school climate and effective leadership in school institutions. The implications for positive social change included a better understanding of how leadership behaviors motivate teachers, who, in turn impact student achievement.