Craig Ross

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson, Ed.D., Chairperson

Committee Member

David Anderson, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Derrick Fries, Ph.D.


The purpose of this single case study was to examine the significant personal, social, and environmental elements influencing effective second-year implementation of a specific school reform initiative, Positive Behavior Supports, in one alternative high school in southwestern Michigan. Data were collected in the form of artifacts, observations, surveys and interviews. All surveys and interviews were conducted by third-party assistants in the fall of 2009. The survey and interview data were provided to the researcher only after all identifying information had been removed so that the anonymity of participants was protected.

Multiple theoretical frameworks were employed in the analysis of the data, including the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM; George, Hall, & Stiegelbauer, 2006); Bolman and Deal’s (2003) structural frame, human resource frame, political frame, and symbolic frame; Schein’s (2004) theories on organizational culture; and Van Maanen and Schein’s (1979) Theory of Organizational Socialization.

The study found that following the second year of Positive Behavior Supports implementation, the staff of the alternative high school remained confident in the effectiveness of the reform initiative; however, most staff were unable to evolve the program into more sophisticated forms. The reasons for this inability to advance the initiative included the need for additional training (for both new as well as veteran staff members), the lack of necessary financial resources to adequately support the program, the lack of time for planning and reflection coupled with the competing demands of other activities and expectations (most notably, the Michigan Merit Curriculum), and apprehension regarding effective collaboration with peers. Furthermore, the study found that an emphasis on additional training for veteran staff would be beneficial not only to help them with replacing previously-learned, deeply engrained behaviors, but also to allow for more effective socialization of new members into the school culture.


Additional committee member: Jaclynn Tracy, Ph.D.