Seven-Year Study Identifies the Most Essential Behaviors for Creating a Positive School Culture; Results Discussed in New Report from Kickboard

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 2:10 am

NEW ORLEANS — Jan. 2, 2018 — Which student behaviors have the greatest impact in creating a safe, supportive learning environment? An analysis of more than 152 million student behavior instances collected over seven years by educators in 645 schools has enabled researchers to identify the most essential behaviors in creating a positive school culture. The behaviors are categorized in a new compendium called the Positive School Culture Inventory™ (PSCI). In a new white paper titled, “The Positive School Culture Inventory: Purpose, Rationale, and Development,” school climate experts Kent Peterson and Tom Hierck describe how schools can use this inventory to measurably improve school culture outcomes.

In the paper, which is published by Kickboard, the maker of the Kickboard school culture system, Peterson and Hierck explain the benefits of positive behavior management practices, such as those implemented in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and other culture-oriented programs. The authors then describe how a methodology called the “positivity ratio” can be used to objectively evaluate the progress of school climate efforts. Finally, they discuss the development of the PSCI and list the behaviors proven to have the greatest impact in helping schools move toward the target positivity ratio.

“While the benefits of a positive school culture have been documented extensively, educators often have questions about what specific behaviors they should be tracking and reinforcing,” said Peterson. “What we have learned is that, while all positive behaviors are desirable, some are more essential than others in creating a positive school culture. In this white paper, we’re excited to share these behaviors with K-12 districts and schools, along with a methodology to determine if they’re actually achieving success.”

“For years, many proponents of PBIS have wanted to go beyond tracking disciplinary referrals to measure the success of their efforts, but there has been little research or guidance around which behaviors to focus on,” said Hierck. “With the Positive School Culture Inventory, educators now have clear, data-driven insights as to which positive metrics to track to achieve their culture goals.”

Peterson is an emeritus professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the coauthor of “Shaping School Culture” and “The Leadership Paradox.” Hierck is an educator and author of several books including “Seven Keys to a Positive Learning Environment in Your Classroom.”

For a free copy of the white paper, visit  

About Kickboard

Kickboard provides a sustainable, data-driven framework for leading school culture change in K-12 districts and schools. The Kickboard school culture system includes a highly configurable, web-based platform and collaborative, research-based professional development services. For information or to schedule a free demo, visit