Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

William Parrett


Kelly Cross


Sara Fry


Public schools are confronted with establishing productive teaching and learning environments. Not only can students’ challenging behavior soak up educators’ time and resources, but these behaviors may also rob the pupils of critical academic instructional time. Schools need the tools and skills to identify and implement effective solutions to problem behavior. Schoolwide Positive Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) has been shown to optimize the capacity of schools to address schoolwide, classroom, and individual student problem behavior through research-validated practices.

This multiple-case study investigated the practices that have led one school to execute the SWPBIS’s critical features as they were intended to be employed. This school was measured against a comparable school, which received similar treatment and achieved a low level of implementation fidelity. Four fundamental questions framed this research: (1) Why was one Idaho school able to implement the Universal Tier of SWPBIS with a high degree of fidelity, while a comparable school achieved only a low level of implementation fidelity?; (2) How do practices compare at a school implementing with high fidelity to a school implementing with a low level of fidelity of SWPBIS?; (3) What are the barriers the schools faced in implementing SWPBIS?; and (4) What are the facilitators for the schools in implementing SWPBIS? For this study, barriers are defined as the components of the implementation process that inhibited the successful application of the Universal Tier of SWPBIS. Implementation facilitators are the elements that worked as catalysts to positively affect the successful implementation of the SWPBIS framework.

This study has resulted in two major conclusions. First, there are six primary elements of practice needed to implement the Universal Tier of Schoolwide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. These elements of practice include: (a) strong leadership, (b) regular SWPBIS Meetings, (c) use of data, (d) continuously revisiting the system, (e) focus on the Universal Tier, and (f) working proactively as a team. Second, SWPBIS implementation requires strong leadership from the building principal. This leadership represents the most critical SWPBIS implementation component. Efficient, effective leadership provides the foundation in which all other elements of implementation are cultivated.

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