Dianne Witwer


The purpose of this multiple case study described and compared practices utilized to implement the School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) approach at 3 purposely selected Central California elementary school sites. More specifically, this study described and compared: (a) school practices for defining and teaching school rules/expectations; (b) the reward systems being used; (c) systems for documenting and reporting office-managed student behavior violations; (d) systems for collecting and summarizing discipline referrals; (e) the priority given to improving behavior-support systems in school site plans; (f) school budget allocations for SWPBS; and (g) district support, financial and otherwise, for SWPBS at these schools. This study did not attempt to prove a causal relationship between SWPBS and improved student achievement; rather, it focused on describing and comparing specific practices that these 3 schools were utilizing in relation to the SWPBS approach. The intention was thus to learn more about specific practices that might be replicated in other schools. This research was qualitative in nature and utilized a multiple case-study methodology. Interviews, observations, and artifact reviews were conducted at 3 Central California elementary schools, all purposely selected because they had each implemented the SWPBS Framework for more than 1 year, had subsequently decreased negative student behavior, and had increased student achievement. 3 types of data were collected in order to understand each school‘s SWPBS practices and the level of support for the program. School principals, campus supervisors, and classroom teachers were interviewed; classroom and playground observations were conducted; and reports were reviewed by the researcher and the principal. The 3 types of data were triangulated for each school and compared. The findings led to the conclusions that SWPBS is a systems approach that uses interventions to help students succeed in school. Furthermore, it has to have consistent, committed leadership in order to be successful. It has to be built on the foundation of implementing clear and precise rules that are embedded in all areas of the school. Lastly, SWPBS can be implemented without the district‘s assistance; however it is difficult to sustain unless the district fully supports the approach.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Behavior modification; Behavioral assessment of children -- California; School children -- Psychology; Classroom management

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;