Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Kim VanDerLinden, Ph.D.

Second Supervisor

Rob DiFlorio, Ed.D.


Currently, 22% of American children are found to have a diagnosable mental illness that critically affects their social or emotional development. Of those diagnosed, only 7.4% receive treatment services (Child Mind Institute, 2015). In 2003, it was estimated that 43-56% of students with mental health needs dropped out of school (Landrum, Tankersley, & Kauffmen, 2003). This study was conducted with the goal of improving outcomes for children with mental health and significant behavior problems. This study examined the perspectives of a multidisciplinary team composed of individuals with a variety of specialties such as teachers, administrators, social workers, and therapists. Three themes emerged through analysis of the participant’s responses: a) the importance of behavior management to meet student’s needs, b) environmental management as an essential component of program design, and c) high frequency communication as a valuable tool for collaboration. The insight gained from these interviews was used to construct recommendations for teachers and administrators who are responsible for educating this challenging population.

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