Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Susan M. Schultz


Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) that lack social skills and problem solving have stronger features of depression, higher drop-out rates and struggle with peer relations. With such an emphasis on academics in high school, students still need strategies taught to compensate for skill deficits in problem solving, relationship- building and choice making. This pragmatic mixed methods study used pre-and post-assessment data from the self-determination theory and examined the implementation of collaborative and proactive solutions through focus groups of teachers and mental health practitioners that work with students with EBD in a special education high school. While quantitative data was not significant, focus group findings specified changes in restructuring the current schedule, trust, time, buy-in and predominantly leadership implications. Recommendations for future studies include additional data sets to be included in the study; choosing elementary or middle school student populations; and applying a leadership frameworks at the onset of implementing collaborative and proactive solutions. Limitations of this study consisted of a small sample size and typical limitations of a focus group. This study adds to current gaps in high-school students with EBD, self-determination, and collaborative and proactive solutions.

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