Methods: All certified staff in three urban elementary schools participated in the study. To ensure that all staff in the schools received the PD, a single case experimental concurrent multiple baseline design was used. The training consisted of two 3-hour sessions that provided rationale, introduced concrete skills, and provided opportunity for skills practice for proactive classroom management, regulating implicit bias, and effective reactive strategies. Post-training implementation supports included (1) weekly coaching, (2) biweekly Professional Learning Communities, and (3) daily reminder e-mails. Data about office discipline referrals (ODRs) were collected using the School-Wide Information System. Relative risk ratios were calculated to determine the probability of Black male students, compared to all other students, being referred to the office before and after the PD.
Results: Compared to baseline averages, ODRs for all students were reduced by half post-implementation across all three schools. In additional, visual analysis and single case effect size estimates from the multiple baseline design graphs showed that the PD was effective at reducing ODR relative risk ratios for black male students across all three schools (Δs = 1.5, 2.9, 6.2). Although visible and meaningful reductions in relative risk ratios were found, the three schools continued to demonstrate disproportionality in ODRs (i.e., risk ratios > 1.0) post-PD.
Conclusions: The PD shows potential promise for reducing discipline referrals overall and discipline disproportionality specifically. However, this study’s findings need to be considered in the context of the participating schools’ existing implementation efforts. At the time of the study, all schools were actively involved in implementing School Wide- Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, as well as racial equity work that involved exploring privilege, the impact of cultural mismatch, and helping educators adopt a lens of equity.