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The Relationship of School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports to School Climate and Student Behavior

Lisa A Dion, Johnson & Wales University


“Since the 1970s, one of the hallmarks of reforms of junior high and middle schools has been the recognition of social ‘needs’ of young teens and the ways in which schools have failed to serve them” (Juvonen, p. 197, 2007). If school climate is left to fail, adolescents are at a risk for developing mental health problems, anxiety, antisocial behaviors, and depression (Shortt, Alison, & Spence, 2006). Unless discipline issues are at a minimum, instruction will be interrupted and teaching time will be lost (McIntosh, Bohanon & Goodman, 2011). The following research questions are a few of the questions that guided this study: 1. What are the students’ perceptions of school climate at the end of the school 2014 year? 2. What are the differences in the number of Office Disciplinary Reports (ODRs) from pre-implementation of the SWPBS in 2009 to post-implementation of the SWPBS in 2014 by grade level and gender? This study employed a causal-comparative research design utilizing ex post facto data collected from ODRs and a School Climate Survey to determine feasibility and worthiness of a School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports (SWPBS). The students in this study (N=487) were from a small suburban middle school located in the Northeast. Analyses of students’ perceptions of school climate were negative in the following three dimensions: Order and Discipline=41%, Student-Interpersonal Relations=49% and Student-Teacher Relations =78%. An analysis of ANOVAs revealed significant differences between grade levels 5 to 8 (p=<.001). Findings for Office Disciplinary Reports (ODRs) at the end of a five-year implementation of a SWPBS system reported significant percent decreases ranging from 54% at pre-implementation of the SWPBS to 90% at post-implementation in grade levels 5 to 8. Educational leaders can utilize the findings from this study to guide their instructional practice on building Student-Teacher Relations and implement the use of a School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) system, to help address the social emotional needs of students and minimize student behavioral problems to effect time spent on learning and the success of student learning in the classroom.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Social psychology|Education

Recommended Citation

Dion, Lisa A, "The Relationship of School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports to School Climate and Student Behavior" (2016). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI10103480.