Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership

Major Professor

Judith Ponticell, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

John Mann, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.


behavioral interventions, positive systems of support, culture of care


This capstone project was part of a group project completed by five school and district administrators in Hillsborough County, Florida.

The project began because of our passion for teachers who are able to establish a culture of care in their classrooms that support students academically but transform their learning through experiences that enable them to be more highly engaged and productive students, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, perceived academic abilities, and backgrounds.

My focus in this group project looked at school climate, culture and student behavior in high needs schools. I asked, what steps can be taken by a school leader to improve school climate and culture in turnaround schools? What happens with student behavior as school climate and culture improve?

Selected literature was reviewed that concentrated on current issues with school discipline, multi-tiered approaches for support, and the role of school-based leadership in student success (mediated by the size of student enrollment). I applied what I learned to developing a collaborative working environment for teachers, implementing school uniforms, developing discipline procedures for managing student behavior, and looking for ways to encourage positive student behaviors. Key findings in my area of focus included development of a common understanding of discipline infractions and procedures, decrease in discipline referrals, increase in teacher satisfaction with discipline processes, and improved school grade.