Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Lorrie Butler

Second Advisor

Dr. Carla Sparks


Researchers have documented the importance and value of the teacher-student relationship for over 20 years. The purpose of my study was to determine if teachers who had a positive and highly effective relationship with their students, as documented with informal and formal observations, also had higher student achievement and a lower discipline referral rate when compared to their non-highly effective peers. The context of this inquiry was kindergarten through eighth grade teachers in one public school district. In my study, I demonstrated both quantitative and qualitative data which matched current research to support teachers who are highly effective with building relationships have superior student achievement, lower discipline referral rates, and use research-based strategies weekly in their classrooms. I made a policy recommendation to implement an optional professional development program that focuses on improving a teacher’s ability to build relationships with students and increases the administrator observations in teacher’s classrooms.