VIOLENCE AND DISORDER, SCHOOL CLIMATE, AND PBIS: THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG SCHOOL CLIMATE, STUDENT OUTCOMES, AND THE USE OF POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORTS.
Eacho, Thomas Christopher
Leone, Peter E
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The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between school climate and student outcome variables. The secondary purpose was to examine the relationship between the use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and the same student outcome variables. Variables depicting student perceptions of school climate, self-reported student academic achievement, student perceptions of physical safety in school, and school use of PBIS were drawn from the baseline data collection of the Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools (MDS3) Initiative. Descriptive statistics, bivariate correlations, and multilevel modeling were used to analyze the MDS3 data and to answer four research questions. Descriptive results showed that greater risk factors including feelings of being unsafe, involvement in violence, and poor academic achievement were associated with being male, nonwhite, and in the ninth grade. Bivariate correlations showed statistically significant relationships between student academic achievement and perceptions of school climate, race, gender, and grade level. Average academic achievement at the school level was statistically significantly associated with average school climate, school minority rate, high free and reduced meals (FARM) rate, and use of PBIS. Student perceived physical safety had statistically significant associations with perceptions of school climate, race, gender, and grade level. Average physical safety at the school level was statistically significantly associated with average school climate, school minority rate, high FARM rate, and use of PBIS. Multilevel models of academic achievement showed disparities based on race, gender, grade level, perceptions of school climate, and enrollment in schools with high FARM rate. Multilevel models of physical safety showed disparities based on gender, grade level, perceptions of school climate, enrollment in schools with high FARM rate, and average school level perceptions of school climate. The use of PBIS in schools had little impact on either multilevel model. Recommendations include examining school climate carefully and implementing practices that aim to improve school climate, particularly for those students with the most risk factors.