Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Jonathan Greenberg

Second Advisor

Len Hightower

Third Advisor

Marilyn Saucedo


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological, qualitative study was to describe and explore how teachers in Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) exemplar schools developed positive student-teacher relationships using the 6 domains of the California Standards of the Teaching Profession (CSTPs).

Methodology: This study included 12 teachers from 2 high schools in California that were recognized as exemplary by P21. Each school principal chose 6 teachers by utilizing a list of specific criteria, based on the CSTPs, that was provided by the researcher. The researcher also conducted interviews of all 12 teachers, completed artifact analysis, and conducted observations of teachers.

Findings: In order to build positive relationships with students, teachers in P21 exemplar schools build a safe classroom environment where students are willing to share their thoughts by engaging in a variety of activities. Teachers also consistently differentiate instruction in order to meet students’ learning needs and assess student learning. Teachers collaborate with each other and seek professional development opportunities.

Conclusions: First, teachers focus on building a positive classroom environment. Also, they are aware of students’ academic abilities and focus on helping students develop transferrable skills. Finally, teachers are consistently seeking out professional development opportunities where then can learn about new ideas as well as share their own knowledge.

Recommendations: Further research could be completed. Additional studies should focus on how teachers in P21 elementary schools foster positive student-teacher relationships. A research study should be conducted on how P21 schools facilitate professional collaboration on campus. A future study should examine the specific strategies that teachers used to set classroom norms for students. A future study should examine the specific strategies that P21 teachers use to formatively assess students and collect data about student performance. A future study should examine how teachers at a P21 exemplar school collaborate with the special education department in order to support students who have specific learning disabilities. Another study should examine to what extent the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program effectively supports the creation of a positive school culture. Another study should examine how teachers in P21 school utilized technology to build positive student-teacher relationships.