Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Margaret Constantino

Committee Member

Michael DiPaulo

Committee Member

Megan Tschannen-Moran


The culture of a school community is critical to every aspect of its existence, including academic expectations, degree of inclusiveness, safety, and overall well-being of students and staff. While culture can be an abstract, elusive concept, it makes itself known upon entering the school. School culture can exist on multiple levels, exerting a cohesive impact on relationships and interactions and opportunities. Adding to its complexity, a school culture can be perceived differently by individuals, depending on their unique experiences. Further, a school culture is inevitable and difficult to change; a culture will form and once formed, is resistant to even the best intentions to alter it. These factors make attention to an emerging culture of importance to new schools. The purpose of this action research was to examine the impact of the explicit focus on culture through the creation of a Community of Practice (CoP). Additionally, a CoP can support collaboration between department members. Interview results and activities originating from CoP planning reveal that teachers are concerned with student inclusion and want to contribute to a welcoming, accepting school. It is important for school leaders to facilitate and support these opportunities. Further, action research can help create a focused renewal of culture. Major elements of a developing school culture to emerge from this study were multiple opportunities for informal communication, encouragement of individual as well collective investment in inclusive activities, creation of and encouragement of a creative, entrepreneurial impact on the school and its activities. Recommendations are that schools wanting to contribute to a positive, inclusive culture would do well to make purposeful, explicit efforts toward this endeavor.



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