Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Michael Wischnowski

Second Supervisor

Marie Cianca


Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities experience less school success than any other subgroup of students. The educational system is the only institution mandated to serve children and youth with emotional disabilities; however, for approximately 51% of these students, the educational experience ends with the decision to drop out of school. For novice teachers, an early experience with a disruptive student can end their career, while even experienced teachers may feel daunted by student behavior. Educators are searching for more effective means of working with students with emotional needs whose unresolved conflicts can escalate into classroom disruption, lack of student success, increased discipline referrals, and potentially aggressive or violent incidents. This mixed-methods study in a suburban school district in Western New York explored whether, after receiving training in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, teachers utilized the Life Space Interview with fidelity, and whether the use of the Life Space Interview by teachers minimized student time out of class. Incidents of in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, tardiness, and unexcused absence for students with disabilities in small classroom settings were compared preand post-intervention. Teachers and students who participated in the study were interviewed to share their perceptions of the use of the Life Space Interview. The research participants included 15 high school students with disabilities who attended small classes of eight students or less for their core academic subjects and three tenured special education teachers.

Included in

Education Commons