Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Research indicates a connection between student discipline rates and school climate. In a large, urban K-12 public school district, student discipline concerns were increasing while school climate ratings were decreasing during the last few years. Guided by Bandura's social learning theory, the purpose of this ex post facto, causal-comparative study was to identify differences in teachers' perceptions of school climate, as measured by the New Teacher Project (TNTP) Insight Survey, between schools with high student discipline referral rates and schools with low student discipline referral rates in this school district. The study sample included 6,994 new and veteran certified teachers from N = 72 K-12 schools (n = 36 high discipline referral rate schools; n = 36 low discipline referral rate schools). Teachers' TNTP ratings for Spring 2014-2016 on the overall school climate index, learning environment, and school leadership scales were the dependent variables for the analyses. Independent samples t test results indicated significant differences in overall school climate index, as well as the learning environment and school leadership scales for schools with high compared to low discipline referral rates. Findings showed that schools with high student discipline referral rates had more negative climate ratings than schools with low student discipline referral rates across the three TNTP scales for these teachers. These outcomes suggest that school leaders may create positive social change by identifying and implementing effective strategies aimed at improving student behavior and responses to student discipline as one possible means for fostering a more positive school climate which benefits students, teachers, and staff alike.