Date of Award


Degree Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)




A dissertation in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and Human Development presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education.

Committee Chair

Kathleen K. Wallace, Ed. D

2nd Reader

Deirdra Preis, Ed.D.

3rd Reader

Michael Rafferty, Ed.D


This Improvement Science Dissertation in Practice (ISDiP) focused on the problem of educator bias as it pertains to behavior management and discipline, specifically for Black and Hispanic/Latine students as well as students with disabilities. A root cause analysis coupled with a review of existing literature situated this problem within Clark High School and justified further intervention. This study used an improvement science framework, action research methodology, and a convergent mixed-methods design to explore the implementation of tier II of school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (SWPBIS) at Clark High School and its potential impact on educators’ awareness of implicit biases as well as their willingness to address said biases. The study additionally explored the unique experiences of Clark High School staff which impact their awareness of and willingness to address implicit biases. The study found that the implementation of tier II did not significantly impact Clark High School educators' awareness of or willingness to address implicit biases in behavior management and discipline. However qualitative findings indicated that staff’s unique experiences presented barriers to the implementation of tier II with fidelity. A synthesis of findings led to a discussion of what conditions must be cultivated for staff to be able to effectively use objective, data-driven systems to mitigate implicit biases. These conditions include strong leadership, a positive school climate, and a willingness to recognize the presence of biases throughout all levels of educational decision-making.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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