Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Jose Castillo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

George Batsche, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roger Boothroyd, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Leia Cain, Ph.D.


implementation, PBIS, response to intervention, secondary school, systems change


This dissertation addresses the perspectives of experts and school-level stakeholders on MTSS implementation in high schools. Despite evidence of MTSS implementation effectiveness in elementary and middle school settings, MTSS implementation still lags in high schools. In reviewing the literature on high school MTSS implementation, those who have worked to implement MTSS do not all do so with the same priorities and/or emphases. I collected and examined qualitative data that reflects the perspectives of experts and school-level stakeholders. Specifically, I also reviewed articles or book chapters written by some high school MTSS experts and interviewed them. I interviewed stakeholders working in high school in order to gain perspectives from individuals who are directly involved in the implementation process. I used the Generic Qualitative design in my research, and analyzed the interview data and documents by using the Inductive Analysis method. Experts and stakeholders identified essential elements that they perceived would influence high schools’ abilities to implement MTSS and impact student outcomes. They specified components that relate to the high school system and the ecology of a high school that impact MTSS implementation: components like parent involvement, the community, and the high school culture. All participants shared perspectives on high school students’ roles in the MTSS process, such as student support team involvement, providing ideas regarding interventions, and assistance with peer tutoring. Overall, experts and stakeholders agreed on many of the basic principles and components of high school MTSS (leadership, collaboration, professional development, alignment, data, decision rules); however, they emphasized different approaches for application to a high school setting, and displayed varying opinions on best practices. Some of the foci included reading interventions, behavioral supports, Tier-1 foundational instruction, and graduation goals. Implications for practice may be pulled from the perspectives shared, particularly those regarding context-specific professional development, student involvement, and the urgency of providing supports in time for high school graduation.