Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Individuals and families often migrate to rural areas anticipating a utopian environment and a school system that supports their beliefs and values. Little qualitative research, however, has been conducted about the impact of rural public school districts on their local communities. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study, as reflected in the central research question, was to explore how a rural public school district contributed to community culture. Maslow's motivational theory related to a hierarchy of human needs formed the conceptual framework for this study. A single case study was executed as the method of inquiry. Participants included 6 residents purposely selected from a small rural community in a United States western state. Data were collected from multiple sources, including interviews with the participants who had children enrolled in the public school district, observations of school board meetings, and documents reflecting the relationship between school and community. Data were analyzed using line-by-line coding and the constant comparative method to construct categories and determine themes and discrepancies. The key finding indicated that the public school district positively impacted the conservative culture of this rural community by encouraging community involvement in the school and by reinforcing community expectations that the school will provide students with a quality education and reinforce common conservative values and beliefs. This study contributes to positive social change by providing a deeper understanding of how rural public school educators and residents build a relationship of mutual understanding and cooperation to create a strong, vibrant rural community.