Date of Award





Doctor of Education

Degree Type



Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Robert E. Waller

Second Advisor

Michael Richardson

Third Advisor

Christopher Garretson


Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports is a framework used by educators to improve school climates by developing student academic and social skills through the alignment of behavioral expectations, positive acknowledgement for appropriate behaviors, the encouragement of positive staff and student relationships, and data-based decision making. Even though PBIS is comprised of three tiers of increased support, the majority of schools in the United States have only implemented the first tier, or School-Wide PBIS. Furthermore, due to barriers that are unique to high school settings, most of the schools that have implemented SWPBIS have been elementary and middle schools. The purpose of this explanatory, sequential mixed methods study was to examine teacher and administrator perceptions of SWPBIS in a Middle Georgia high school. The study school was in the first year of SWPBIS implementation and was only partially implementing their framework at the time of the study. Twenty-seven teachers and three administrators at the study school completed the PBIS Perception Survey, and the results were averaged to establish a baseline for the qualitative portion of the study. Additionally, eight teachers and two administrators participated in semi-structured interviews for the qualitative segment of the study. This study was developed around one overarching research question: What are high school teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions of SWPBIS? Additionally, three subquestions directed the research. 1) What are high school teachers’ perceptions of SWPBIS? 2) What are high school administrators’ perceptions of SWPBIS? 3) To what extent is there a difference between high school teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions of SWPBIS? Through qualitative data analysis, four themes emerged which included teacher and administrator viii understanding of SWPBIS, potential benefits, implementation barriers, and factors positively affecting implementation. Data results from the study indicated administrators had a more comprehensive understanding of SWPBIS even though both groups revealed the utilization of SWPBIS could provide potential benefits to the overall success of the school especially in regards to the climate. However, the teachers signified several school level factors needed to change in order for SWPBIS to completely impact the climate. Ultimately, a lack of teacher buy-in for the system existed because all areas of change were not addressed prior to the beginning of implementation. Even so, some positive effects on school climate were realized despite full implementation and a lack of teacher buy-in.