Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Erin Lehmann


Many schools have implemented School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to address student behavior and social-emotional issues. Historically, the implementation of PBIS has been most prominent at the elementary level; however, more secondary schools have implemented PBIS in the past few years. Staff buy-in of PBIS at the secondary level proved more challenging because of secondary school barriers. This improvement science study used qualitative research to explore what factors contributed to or hindered staff buy-in of PBIS and whether transformational leadership improved buy-in. Participants included seven staff at BEMHS. Qualitative data was derived from a focus group and themes emerged to show what supported and hindered staff buy-in. Three themes emerged that supported staff buy-in. First, PBIS focused on promoting positive behaviors indicating school culture has improved since PBIS implementation. Secondly, PBIS has improved student behavior and culture. Thirdly, transformational leadership did promote staff buy-in. Three themes emerged that hindered staff buy-in. Staff needed more professional development to better understand the referrals and the referral system. The second theme analyzed that hindered staff buy-in was the concern with PBIS, positive students got less recognition in the program. The final theme indicated more support was needed for staff to embrace the attitude of PBIS as a beneficial intervention, so fidelity improves. The discussion results were used to determine the next steps to develop a Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle for BEMHS. The PDSA was a 90-day plan which included staff surveys, data analysis, and module training for staff.

Subject Categories



PBIS, Secondary Level, Staff Buy In

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota

Included in

Education Commons



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