THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEADERSHIP SKILLS OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND SCHOOL CLIMATE
Gerault, Jeanette Diane 1972-
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As state and federal accountability standards demand that schools show adequate progress for school improvement, principals have found it more difficult to find the time and resources needed to adequately focus on school culture and climate. The purpose of this descriptive statistics study was to determine the relationship between elementary school principals’ leadership skills and school climate. Perceptions of school leadership and school climate were measured by an employee perception survey developed within a large, diverse, suburban district in the state of Texas. The data were collected from elementary school campuses with varying demographics, located within the same school district. The design of the research involved descriptive statistics and frequencies to investigate the possible relationship between perceived school climate and perceived principal leadership skills. The intent of this descriptive statistics study was to clarify educators’ understanding of important phenomena by identifying relationships among variables, school climate, and leadership skills. As previous researchers have related school climate to principal leadership and behaviors (Bulach, Booth, & Pickett, 1998; Peterson, 1990), this research concurred that there is, indeed, a relationship between the leadership skills of the principal and the school’s climate. This study was significant because the behaviors of the building principal have been linked to the school climate, thus telling practitioners that effective leadership is critical. In order to develop a climate of autonomy, cohesiveness, adequate communication, and focused goals, principals must develop leadership skills focused on respect, instructional leadership, effective communication, shared decision making, and valuing the contributions of others.