Improving Disciplinary Practices in an Urban School: Solving the Problem of Practice

Cean R. Colcord, Sarup R. Mathur, Stanley H. Zucker


In this article, the authors share a case study of a special educator who worked closely with a leadership team in an urban elementary school to establish universal behavior expectations for all students. The special educator was a behavior coach in the urban elementary school located in a southwestern school of the United States of America. Following an action research framework, the special educator also the lead author worked closely with the leadership team to solve the issue of high office disciplinary referrals (ODRs) for aggressive behaviors. The aggressive behaviors included actions that harm others, such as assault, bullying, hitting, etc. The methodology included the team establishing universal expectations within the school-wide positive behavior supports framework taking into consideration parental feedback and university colleagues’ input. To evaluate the effectiveness of universal expectations, the team tracked the number of ODRs for two years. Findings indicate that the adoption of schoolwide behavior expectations resulted in the overall reduction of ODRs by 47% and ODRs for aggressive behaviors reduced by 50% from Year 1 to 2. These findings have implications for educators serving students in urban schools settings.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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