Since the Industrial Age of the early 1900’s, American education has consisted of school organizations that emphasize control, monitoring, and evaluation to meet the demands of a needed factory-based workforce (Furman, 2002a) that necessitated efficiency and hierarchal managerial power structures. According to the self-determination theory, these controlling environments suppress personal growth, intrinsic motivation, and well-being (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2002). An alternative approach to school organizations is school community, or the structuring of school around mutual obligations, interdependence, common mission, and social ties (Kindermann & Gest, 2009). The three studies presented in this dissertation explore the construction and culture of a school community while also seeking to understand the unique peer associations among students that result from creating school community and how those relational ties relate to students’ perception of competence, as defined in self-determination theory. Study 1 explored teachers’ use of specific strategies to construct school community including humor, whole-school discussions, anecdotal stories, cues, modeling, service-learning projects, monitoring, and scaffolding. Study 2 described, operationalized, and created a valid and reliable measure of peer bonds for students. Study 3 tested a model in which students’ peer bonds predict their perceived competence explaind by their self-reported help-seeking behaviors and social goal pursuit. Thus, school community may be important for the creation of peer bonds, which then has implications for academic behaviors, social goal pursuit, and motivation.