Teacher perception of school culture and school climate in the Leader in Me schools and non Leader in Me schools

Brian Patrick Barkley, University of Southern Mississippi


In 1989 Dr. Stephen Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People which revealed seven habits that people should integrate into their lives that would help them on the two levels of relationships. First, it would help people to establish a better relationship personally. Secondly, it would help people to improve their relationships with other people. The book was originally written for adults; later Sean Covey, son of Dr. Covey, wrote a version of The Seven Habits that was geared toward teenagers. But the question of whether these adult lessons can be taught to five year olds was taken on by an elementary school principal, Muriel Summers, as a way to change her struggling school that was in danger of losing its charter. What was found was a school that improved greatly in not only the academic areas, but also in social areas, as the school had respectful students, an engaged staff, and minimal discipline issues. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between Leader in Me school teachers' perceptions of the school's culture and school climate, as compared to non Leader in Me teachers' perceptions, and, to determine if there is a difference in the schools' discipline referrals in a two year period. The primary data for this study were obtained from 172 teacher-reported surveys from three school districts, one in Florida and two in Mississippi. Nine schools participated in the study, which examined teacher perception of school culture and school climate and its effect on discipline referrals. A MANOVA analysis was used to determine whether relationships exist between the dependent variable of discipline referrals over a two year period and the independent variables of the School Culture Survey and the School Level Environment Questionnaire.