How Do School-Based Leaders’ Perceptions of Their Own Leadership Styles Impact Their Approach to Managing and Improving Student Discipline Outcomes?

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There has been extensive research done on varying leadership styles as well as how school leaders employ these styles in order to improve students’ academic achievement. However, little literature exists that discusses how leadership style affects a principal or assistant principal’s approach to managing student discipline. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to examine how school leaders perceive their leadership style and how their style affects the way they address student discipline in their school buildings. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 principals and assistant principals from an urban, public school district in northern New Jersey who served students in grades four through eight to answer the following research questions: RQ1: How do principals and assistant principals’ perceived leadership styles impact their leadership practices and approach to student discipline? RQ2: How are student discipline outcomes affected by the perceived leadership styles of principals and assistant principals? This dissertation shares the thematically coded data gathered through the interviews. Participants discussed demonstrating care for students, staff, and families, even when they did not specifically identify Caring Leadership as their individual style. This caring approach was critical to building positive relationships and determining disciplinary consequences for students that served as alternatives to suspension and other forms of exclusion from schools. This was especially important to the school leaders who participated as they and their staff continue to navigate providing high-quality education to all students in this post-pandemic world.

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  • 03/04/2024
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