A Case Study on Administrative Perspectives of Student Relationships on a Rural Middle School Campus

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Background: Relationships forged at school can aid or hinder development in regards to learning and behaviors. These relationships are critical at the middle school level when adolescents are beginning to form their own personal identities, personalities, values, and behaviors. Much of the prevailing research indicates there is a strong correlation between student relationships with teachers and student success related to school work and state assessments. However, limited research is found regarding the impact of student relationships with administrators. There is, also, a lack of literature that provides a discussion of how student relationships relate or tie into the behaviors observed on middle school campuses. Purpose: The aim of this research was to identify connections between student-administrator relationships and student behavior. Methods: This was a qualitative case study within one rural middle school, servicing grades 6-8. Three campus administrators directly involved with students were interviewed. Interviews were conducted to determine themes concerning administrator perspectives on student behaviors in connection to their relationships with students. A second round of interviews followed to dissect the prevalent themes and determine if positive relationships with administrators equate to positive behaviors in students. Results: Administrators identified time was a prevalent factor. With adequate time to build relationships throughout the year, administrators also felt their efforts to build strong positive relationships with students did promote and encourage more positive behaviors. Additionally, one administrator felt it depended more on the individual student, rather than relationships. Conclusion: The results of this study indicated there were several areas to investigate and determine a connection between student administrator relationships and student behaviors. Further research could examine these relationships in a larger district.

Administrator relationships, Middle schools, Rural schools, Student relationships, Student behaviors