Nicole Barakat, Susan Forman, Russell, Kormann, Anne, Gregory, Dean, Stanley, Messer
Educational programs that serve youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities (E/BD), including residential treatment centers, often utilize behavioral techniques and behavior management programs such as Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) to decrease student maladaptive behavior, and increase adaptive behavior. The successful implementation of behavior management programs is influenced by a variety of factors related to the organizational context. However, few program evaluation studies have
more » ... oked specifically at factors that influence the implementation of behavior management programs in specialized school settings for students with E/BD. New Jersey Private School (NJPS), a residential treatment center for boys with E/BD, requested a program evaluation in order to assess the implementation and outcomes of their behavior management system. Staff surveys were used to answer program evaluation questions regarding implementer knowledge, self-reported use, attitudes, perceptions of administrative support, and perceptions of student responsiveness towards programs. School observations and a review of permanent records were conducted in order to answer additional questions regarding fidelity and student behavioral outcomes. Teachers who reported using behavior management programs consistently were found to have more knowledge and more positive attitudes towards programs. Additionally, teachers' positive perceptions of administrator support were found to be related to overall positive attitudes towards programs, as well as to fewer behavioral incidents in their classrooms. Barriers to implementation identified by this survey included a lack of knowledge of behavioral theory and techniques, and poor perceptions of consistency of implementation, ii communication, and team work amongst staff. Staff identified training and performance feedback as two areas of need. In general, teachers' knowledge, and their positive perceptions of both programs and administrator support were strongly associated with higher implementation and more successful outcomes for students. Ultimately, the results of this study suggest that in order to ensure successful implementation of behavior management programs, administrators must focus on providing implementers with the supports necessary to maintain high knowledge and positive attitudes, including ongoing training, performance feedback, and facilitation of cohesion amongst staff. iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would first like to thank Susan Forman for her dedication to helping me finish this dissertation and reach the conclusion of my graduate study. Thank you for believing that I could complete this project even when I doubted myself. To Russell Kormann, who gave me a place at NSTM in my first year at GSAPP, I offer many, many thank you's. It is due to your mentorship that I have the career I have today. Thank you to Anne Gregory who held my work to the highest standards. I appreciate the time and careful attention you dedicated to combing through my hundreds of (double-sided) pages. A warm thanks to Karen Haboush whose caring supportiveness welcomed myself and many others to the GSAPP community. Thank you to Dean Messer for supporting the ongoing growth of our program. To Kathy and Sylvia, from my first to my last day, thank you for always having the answers, and always having time for kindness. To my supervisors, Meredith and Damian, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for freely offering your time and guidance to me.