The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between student achievement and a set of school-level variables, including distributed leadership, academic optimism, teacher collaboration and enabling school structure. The study was designed as correlational research. A Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) analysis was conducted with a data set collected from 23,053 students and 426 teachers from 40 randomly selected public schools in Turkey. The data were collected using previously developed scales and student achievement data from the Ministry of National Education. HLM results revealed that two dimensions of academic optimism - namely collective efficacy and trust in clients - and hindering bureaucracy significantly predicted between-school differences in student achievement. The tested HLM model explained 60% of the variation in student achievement across schools. The results revealed that student achievement is shaped by school-level variables that are tied to the structural and functional characteristics of schools in Turkey. However, these school characteristics are rooted in the societal structures and cultural characteristics of the country. Hence, it is concluded that a reinterpretation of common school-level variables used to predict student achievement in the contexts of different countries is necessary.