Robert Crider

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Jane C. Johnston

Committee Member

Wesley T. Doll


Building health, Character, Climate, Education


The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between the use of character education programming and school health. Measuring and improving school health is a process that supports social, emotional, ethical and civic education. Hoy, Tarter, and Kottkamp define this concept as a healthy school is one in which the institutional, administrative, and teacher levels are in harmony; and the school meets functional needs as it successfully copes with disruptive external forces and directs its energies toward its mission (Hoy, Tarter & Kottkamp, 1991).

School climate, school culture, and school health are used synonymously in the research. They refer to the quality and character of school life. School climate is based on patterns of school life experiences and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching, learning and leadership practices, and organizational structures. It recognizes the two essential processes that research and best practices from a number of traditions (character education, school reform, social emotional learning, community schooling, pro-social education, risk prevention and health/mental health promotion) have indicated that there are two core processes that educators, parents/guardians, students and community leaders need to focus on to support students developing the skills, knowledge and dispositions that provide the foundation for school success and the ability to love, work and become an engaged and effective citizen (Cohen & Sandy, 2007).

A character education program entitled CHARACTER COUNTS! has been implemented in a rural elementary school located in south central Pennsylvania. Implementation included initial as well as ongoing faculty training, district financial support, administrative support and parent education. Another rural elementary building similar in size and demographics located in the same region of the state reportedly has not implemented a formal character education program.

This study will investigate the level of character education and school health in each of these buildings to investigate a possible correlation between character education programming and school health.