The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of professional development on teachers' delivery of written praise notes and the number of office disciplinary referrals (ODRs). The professional development consisted of training teachers on the effective use of behavior specific written praise, as well as on how to analyze and respond to praise-note and office disciplinary referral data. It was hypothesized that this process could help support and increase teachers' delivery of behavior-specific written praise notes and would subsequently decrease in the rate of office discipline referrals (ODRs). As baseline data, this study used the participating school's existing data (November through February for academic years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011). Data included number of praise notes and office disciplinary referrals. Across the most recent school year (November thru February 2011-2012), on a monthly basis, data were collected on number and content of notes and the number of ODRs. Current data were compared with baseline data from two previous school years. Although the data did not indicate significant changes between baseline data and post intervention data, overall data suggest a gradual increase in respect to the number of written praise notes. However, contrary to anticipated outcome, a slight upward trend was indicated in the number of office discipline referrals. These results are considered inconclusive in regard to whether professional development significantly impacts the number and specificity of praise notes and decreases the number of students with ODRs. However, the majority of teachers supported delivering written praise notes as an effective intervention to increase desired classroom academic achievement and appropriate social behavior.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





teachers' praise, praise notes, office disciplinary referrals, professional development