Increasing staff buy-in through an incentive program to increase SW-PBIS program fidelity: a case study of a rural K-6 elementary school in northern California

Extensive research supports the implementation and maintenance of school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (SW-PBIS). Research shows the effectiveness of SW-PBIS in reducing referrals, suspension rates, and problem behavior. In addition, research has identified that SW-PBIS strengthens school culture and community for staff, faculty, and students. Research has also demonstrated that staff buy-in greatly affects the effectiveness of SW-PBIS programs. Consequently, there is a limited amount of research that identifies methods to increase staff buy-in to an existing SW-PBIS program. The purpose of this study is to identify if professional development effects staff buy-in and support implementation fidelity. Additionally, the study seeks to identify if an offering incentive increases participation in a voluntary professional development session aimed at providing program knowledge and implementation support. This study utilized a mixed method design and collected data concurrently using a single instrument. Results of the study show that professional development affected staff buy-in levels, however, it did not affect the participants’ ability to represent program knowledge. Due to the limited sample size and treatment population, in addition to the limited literature, findings from the study cannot be generalized and more research is necessary to identify if the same results are transferable to other school settings.