Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Williams, Frankie

Committee Member

McMullan, Leigh Ann

Committee Member

Moyen, Eric A.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Educational Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Students across the country experience negative effects due to losses in classroom instruction time caused by exclusionary discipline. In Mississippi, 11.8% of students received 1 or more in-school suspensions and 9.7% of students received 1 or more out-of-school suspensions during the 2013-14 school year. This study sought to determine effective classroom management strategies for addressing discipline infractions, identify professional development needs of teachers and administrators focused on effective classroom management strategies, describe the role of the principal in promoting professional management strategies and reducing discipline infractions, and determine recommendations for related school policies. Mississippi public school districts serving students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. All school districts were located in rural areas across the state. Participants in the study included 3 administrators and 5 teachers. All participants had 6 or more years of experience. The research design selected for the study was a qualitative approach. Phenomenological research was conducted to analyze participants’ experiences relating to classroom management, discipline, administration, and policy. Participants were interviewed about their experiences and opinions regarding classroom management strategies, professional development, the role of the principal, and policy recommendations all relating to reducing discipline infractions and increasing student achievement. The data were analyzed to determine emergent themes among the participants in response to the research questions and to provide recommendations for professional development and policy changes. Common themes were identified through the participants’ interviews. The findings showed that participants believed positive reinforcement, academic supports, behavior supports, relationships, planning, and teaching expectations and consequences were the most effective classroom management strategies. Participants identified behavior supports, seating, grouping, PBIS, classroom management plans, teaching children from poverty, classroom relationships, teaching expectations, student engagement, planning, and providing feedback as professional development needs. Participants described the role of the administrator as supporting teachers, maintaining consistency and fairness, establishing relationships with teachers and students, and maintaining a presence in classrooms. Policy recommendations included increased consistency, stronger parental involvement policies, adjustments to non-violent offenses, classroom management professional development for new teachers, including teachers in administrative processes, policies based upon grade levels, and more detailed PBIS policies.