Impact of School Culture and School Climate on Student Achievement

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INTRODUCTION
Principals who want to improve student achievement in their schools usually embark on a series of obvious restructuring strategies: strengthening the curriculum, providing more training for staff and tutoring for students who need help. However, in reforming the school, some important aspects, like the beliefs and attitudes of the administration, teachers and students are overlooked. Good school climate and culture are keys to the success of schools. In order to create positive changes in the school, principals must make knowledgeable, data driven decisions in order to effect these changes. BACKGROUND

It was observed that within the first two years of his new assignment at a secondary school, a principal was able to eliminate some of the problems plaguing that institution. The issue of graffiti was resolved and the appearance of the school and the grounds improved; the school plant was expanded, creating more classrooms and smaller class sizes which made teaching students with learning challenges, easier. Students also found the principal approachable and went to him about their concerns. These were not the only changes, however. Upon his arrival, the school motto and the school collect were no longer repeated at assemblies; instead, a slogan which the principal had personally conceptualised, was used. Many annual activities such as Speech Day, staff Christmas parties and concerts were either postponed or eliminated altogether. Unlike the previous principal, who had an open door policy, teachers found it difficult to have an audience with him; that privilege seemingly reserved for a few select teachers, the management team and students; he rarely spoke directly to the regular teaching staff. Whilst still insisting on end of school year promotional examinations, the principal implemented a policy of automatic promotion, despite fierce opposition by the teaching staff. After five years, there was dissension...
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