Alt Title

Connecting students to 4 dimensions of high school climate

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wholeben, Brent E.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


High schools--Security measures; Alienation (Social psychology); Bullying in schools; High school students--Social networks; Student-administrator relationships; Teacher-student relationships


Recognizing that unsafe environments impact learning, school administrators have been forced to address an increasing number of safety concerns within the high school setting. These concerns include school shootings and other violent crimes, increasing signs of student alienation and disconnect from school, high incidents of harassment and bullying behaviors, lack of student support systems, and weakening adult/student relationships at home and at school. This study addressed these concerns with an investigation into the working, safe-school climate strategies, supportive variables, trends, and important recommendations that were embedded in the literature's documented conversations and research findings regarding safe schools and high school climates. The methods employed in this literature review investigation combined both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Spanning the years around the Columbine shooting, 1995 through 2003, 204 literature sources were explored. The safe-school climate sources included textbooks; books and reports from states, the United States government, and other countries; state and national educational membership association books and journals; newspapers; and additional books and journals from book stores and university libraries. Four climate dimensions, ecology, milieu, organization, and culture, served as a literature framework. A detailed coding system, including letters and symbols, was developed to identify and categorize 39 safe-school climate variables and 11 federal recommendations. A massive literature cross-reference matrix was assimilated to show the changes in variable focus over time. The literature review findings, regarding the 39 variables and 11 federal recommendations for safe schools, provided valuable strategies for administrators to utilize. However, 26 of the 39 variables and 6 of the 11 federal recommendations became a definite nonfocus in the literature over time. Administrators often turned to the literature sources to address current and future challenges. Therefore, it was imperative that useful information and recommendations be uncovered in the literature. High school administrators must do everything they possibly can to promote a safe-school environment. This study was significant because it revealed the literature's multiple safe-school climate variables, strategies, and recommendations for administrators to utilize as they searched for new ways to make their schools safer for all students.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [444]-463).


xvii, 532 pages




Northern Illinois University

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