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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

William Hitchings

Second Committee Member

Thomas Nelson


Educators are under increasing pressure to improve the climate and safety in urban schools. Unfortunately, schools have addressed school safety concerns by increasing exclusionary measures such as suspensions and expulsions. Knowing that exclusionary measures can have detrimental effects, state legislatures have called for more proactive strategies for positive student behavior and increased school climates. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is a proactive, school-wide approach to discipline that shifts the focuses from punitive measure to teaching, promoting, and supporting positive behavior to all students (Suagai & Horner, 2006). As a result, PBIS has been linked to positive school climates and reductions in exclusionary measures. This mixed methods study examined the implementation efforts and barriers to sustained implementation of PBIS in three urban school districts in Northern California. A modified version of the School-Wide Evaluation Tool (SET) was sent to the school site administrators in the three urban school districts in Northern California that had participated in a four day PBIS training. A small return rate was yielded (n=17), therefore only summary data could be reported. School site administrators indicated that the following practices were in place: three to five positively stated rules, rules were posted throughout the campus, a PBIS team has been established, the administrator was an active participant on the team, and an acknowledgment system had been implemented. Discipline data was analyzed from pre-implementation in 2010-2011 and after implementation in 2014-2015 using Paired t-Tests. Results indicated that there was statistical significance for overall suspension, expulsion and truancy data of the three school districts. Wilcoxon signed ranks tests were also conducted on pre-implementation and implementation discipline data by ethnicity and types of discipline. No statistical significance was noted for ethnicity and discipline type, but reductions in the number of suspensions and expulsions for various ethnic groups (i.e. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Whites) and discipline types (i.e. violence, disruptive/defiance, and physical injury) were indicated pre-implementation and after implementation. Additionally, six school site administrators were interviewed to understand various barriers to sustained implementation of PBIS. Three themes emerged regarding sustained implementation which included staff buy-in, additional training, and competing priorities and initiatives.





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