Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Implementing tertiary -positive behavior supports in alternative schools for students with emotional and behavioral disorders
by Santmire, Matthew, Ed.D., University of Massachusetts Boston, 2009, 165; 3361095
Abstract (Summary)

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders receive failing grades at a higher rate than students in any other disability category as well as have a significant risk of unhealthy and unwanted life outcomes such as social rejection, depression, antisocial behavior, delinquency, substance abuse, adult adjustment problems, unemployment, and possible institutionalization. These sobering statistics are exacerbated by the fact that 73% are arrested within 5 years of leaving school. Clearly more work needs to be done to help prevent these dismal outcomes.

Despite the fact that research indicates that school-wide positive behavior supports is an effective model for improving school-wide discipline in mainstream settings, there has not been any research conducted on its the implementation in the unique context of alternative schools for students behavioral problems. Therefore, a new conceptual framework, tertiary-positive behavior supports was designed to guide this study. By adopting an organizational learning lens, this conceptual framework serves to more effectively support the implementation and sustainability of school-wide positive behavior supports in the unique contexts of alternative schools for students with behavior problems.

Data were gathered using a survey that was completed by 37 administrators (71% response rate) of schools that were members of a statewide professional association of special education schools. The findings indicated that respondents' schools were small, value open communication, and have strong communication structures, elements that support organizational learning. But many schools also have relatively high rates of staff attrition, which can both hamper and support organizational learning. The data further suggested that variability of motivation among staff impacts the development of organizational learning. Finally, data also suggested that, in some contexts, respondents had difficulty seeing reality objectively, a capacity that is critical in advancing the complexity and depth of organizational learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goodale, Ronda
School: University of Massachusetts Boston
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Educational psychology, Special education
Keywords: Alternative schools, Behavioral disorders, Emotional and behavioral disorders, Organizational learning, Positive behavior supports, Schoolwide discipline, Social cognitive theory
Publication Number: 3361095
ISBN: 978-1-109-19055-7
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