Date of Award



© 2021 Melissa Lourenco

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Gizelle Luevano

Second Advisor

Corey Berg

Third Advisor

Anthony Rodriguez


This qualitative phenomenological study investigated the perspectives of students on Positive Behavior and Interventions (PBIS) and its effect on school climate. Previous research highlighted a connection between student behavior and school climate. In individual interviews, participants were asked to describe the various factors that influenced their school experience, including their behavior in middle school as well as those that influenced school climate. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory (EST) and systems view of school climate (SVSC) were used as a guide for structuring research questions, designing interview questions, and analyzing and interpreting data.

The themes that emerged from the data were: 1) Peers, 1) Teachers, 3) School Climate, 4) PBIS, and 5) Family and Future. The themes represented the major influences on student behavior that were noted in participants’ responses. The study’s findings reinforced previous studies that identified a connection between student behavior and school climate. Additionally, the study found a strong correlation between relationship-building, student behavior, and school climate. Implications as a result of this study included: 1) continued implementation of PBIS, as well as a focus on alignment with other systems and factors that influence student behavior, 2) strengthening practices that promote positive relationships between students and teachers and students and their classmates, and 3) elevating student voice in all school practices.


Ed.D. Dissertation