Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Christopher R. Gareis

Committee Member

James H. Stronge

Committee Member

Steven M. Constantino


Students who miss instructional time as a consequence of discipline infractions can manifest outcomes reflected in both dropout and incarceration rates. The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the impact of exclusionary responses to discipline infractions that push students out of school and into the criminal justice system. African American students of low socioeconomic status are often subjected to exclusionary discipline practices. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) implementation aids the mitigation of discipline infractions, without relying on exclusionary practices. However, there is limited research on program efficacy and specific PBIS outcomes for African American students in combined Title I schools. This mixed-methods program evaluation examined disciplinary outcomes for the aforementioned population and serves as a resource for best practices regarding PBIS implementation. This study used the School-Wide Evaluation Tool (SET), Kruskal-Wallis test, and thematic analysis to triangulate data. The PBIS implementation fidelity score was 70%; the benchmark was 80%. The distribution of discipline infractions was statistically significantly different between implementation periods, χ2(8) = 28.905, p = .001. Thematic analysis highlighted the need for educators to promote positive behaviors, be consistent, and develop cultural competence. Educators must be intentional in ensuring equity. An all-encompassing recommendation is to provide professional development for systemic implementation of culturally responsive discipline practices using PBIS. With the proper interventions, students who display challenging behaviors can learn to display positive behaviors and become productive members of society.



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