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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Michael Elium

First Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim

Second Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Third Committee Member

Tracy Catalde


Middle school students identified with emotional and behavioral disorders exhibit problem behaviors and often lack the social and academic skills necessary to be successful students. Moreover, these students display low academic motivation, earn failing grades, and have high rates of suspension due to unsafe and inappropriate behaviors. Using a single-case experimental design, the effects of daily therapeutic morning meetings as a socio-emotional intervention involving three middle school students identified with emotional disturbance (ED) are analyzed. To assess the efficacy of the intervention, students, teachers, and parents completed the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale (SSIS) at the beginning and end of the study. In addition, the students completed a School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI) prior to and following the intervention. The independent variable, the therapeutic morning meetings, was delivered 47 minutes a day over a 19-week period, totaling 73 hours of intensive therapeutic intervention. A social and academic skill was either introduced or reinforced every week for the duration of the study. Results indicate students exhibited an increase in social and academic skills, improved school motivation, and higher overall academic achievement. Further analyses revealed a decrease in problem behaviors as indicated by a significant reduction in suspensions. A Socio-Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Rating Scale (SEBARS) is proposed for middle school students whose behavioral and socio-emotional needs necessitate intensive therapeutic interventions. Implications for the implementation of therapeutic morning meetings for students with emotional disturbance, as well as study limitations and suggestions for further research, are discussed.





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