A Study of Administrators' Attitudes and Perspectives of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 1-1-2008


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Peter Gigliotti

Committee Member

Noel Farmer

Committee Member

Clyde Harrell


behavior, administrators, interventions, students, discipline, behavior programs


This qualitative study examined the influence of school-based administrators' attitudes and perceptions in the success or lack of success of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) System as measured by disciplinary data. Schools across the state of Maryland have adopted PBIS as a safe to promote safe and orderly learning environments. PBIS is a proactive, school-wide behavior management system that emphasizes teaching, modeling, and rewarding appropriate student behaviors. The goal of PBIS is to decrease the frequency of inappropriate student behaviors and to increase student availability to learning and instruction. Principals of PBIS schools were interviewed to gain insight into their attitudes and perceptions relative to PBIS. Principals' interviews were analyzed for patterns and trends. School discipline data were analyzed to determine if themes or patterns exist between principals' attitude towards PBIS and student behavior in the school.

Six common themes emerged from the principal interviews that were conducted for this study. These themes include the following: (a) PBIS promotes the recognition and rewarding of positive student behaviors, (b) PBIS perpetuates the establishment of consistent school-wide behavior expectations and uniform language, (c) PBIS components of teaching and modeling were not evident in the majority of principal interview responses, (d) Principals responses vary regarding a direct relationship between PBIS and the retention of staff members or sustainability of substitute teachers (however, principals feel it has a positive impact on school climate); (e) Principals generally reported a positive response by stakeholders to PBIS implementation; and (f) a transformational leadership style appears to have some relationship with PBIS implementation.

The principals interviewed for this study recognized the inherent benefits of gaining staff buy in for an initiative, and then empowering them to assume leadership of the initiative. This philosophical practice lends itself to a transformational leadership style which manifested itself in the principal interviews.

The value of PBIS in supporting positive student behavior emerged both in the school data and principal responses. Additionally, this study demonstrated the power of PBIS to change existing educational mindsets, promote stronger staff-student relationships, and create improved organizational climates.





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