Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Leif Fearn, EdD; Edward F. DeRoche, PhD; Nancy Farnan, PhD


academic achievement, K-8 schools, caring community, Catholic schools, mixed methods study, parents & parenting, quantitative, school administration, Socio-emotional development, staff members, stakeholders perspective, student behavior


Many educators and researchers have found that caring school communities positively affect students’ behavior, academic achievement, and socioemotional development. Students’ basic needs of feeling cared for must be met for them to realize their full potential. The purpose of this study was to investigate stakeholders’ perceptions of a Catholic K-8 school as a caring community. Stakeholders included parents, teachers, administrators, staff members, and sixth through eighth grade students. The following research questions were posed for this study: (1) What are the different stakeholders’ perceptions of the school as a caring community? (2) Are there significant differences in perceptions between the various stakeholder groups? If differences exist, what are they? (3) In what ways have stakeholders experienced, or not experienced, caring at this school? and (4) To what extent does the school seem to be a caring community? A mixed methods approach was used. The study used a survey, interviews, and observations to investigate stakeholders’ perceptions of the school as a caring community. Lickona and Davidson’s survey, School as a Caring Community Profile-II (SCCP-II), was distributed to stakeholders. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the quantitative data from surveys. Interviews were analyzed for caring and non-caring interactions and for stakeholders’ perceptions of the school as a caring community. Observations were conducted for the purposes of triangulation and validity. Survey, interview, and observational data, along with the review of the literature, reveal that the following four attributes contribute to creating a caring school community: (1) providing personal and emotional support for all stakeholders, (2) having high parental involvement, (3) “trying to get it right,” and (4) creating opportunities to care. The study has implications for other schools that wish to improve their climate by making their schools more caring.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access