Heads' of charter schools attitudes toward autonomy, instructional leadership, sense of community, climate of continuous systematic improvement, and their student academic proficiency in grade eight
This study examined the relationship of heads' of charter schools attitudes toward professional autonomy, their teachers' professional autonomy, instructional leadership, their teachers' instructional leadership, sense of community, climate of continuous systematic improvement, and student proficiency in grade eight charter schools in the United States. These elements were selected based upon their preeminence in the literature as key indicators of effective schools.
To determine if these elements were present in K-8 charter schools, a mixed methodology employing a survey and telephone responses was utilized. The written responses to the survey gathered information from the following: forty-eight items addressing the perceptions of heads of charter schools toward the study's six variables, demographic questions, and heads' of schools responses to five statements within the survey.
These quantitative and qualitative results were woven together with findings that indicated that a sense of community was prevalent in moderate- and high-performing schools, head of school instructional leadership was significant in low- and moderate performing schools, and head of charter school professional autonomy only made a difference in academic performance in low-performing schools. The climate of continuous systematic improvement in charter schools was elevated in higher-performing schools. Further, the five significant themes and patterns that emerged in the research involved the following: finances, facilities, safety, life skills, and role models within the K-8 charter school setting.
This research is valuable to all stakeholders involved with heads of schools in their understanding of each other's mental models, and the degree to which effective schools develop a professional community.