This study addressed the problem of how to effectively implement a systems-wide approach to address challenging behavior in young children. It specifically addressed the gap between science and practice as it relates to addressing challenging behavior. This research focused on the children of rural migrant workers in rural California who attended a Migrant Head Start program. To address challenging behavior, a researcher and early childhood educators used a collaborative integration of implementation science and evaluation science to evaluate the implementation of Program-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PW-PBIS), and the fidelity rate of the intervention PW-PBIS. The analysis of the data illustrated the interplay between the implementation and the intervention and the outcome of the PW-PBIS intervention. We used the Active Implementation Framework, and the context, input, process, and product (CIPP) evaluation model to guide the implementation of PW-PBIS, as well as the evaluation of the implementation.
Our commitment to implement PW-PBIS with fidelity and with implementation fidelity (quality assurance and quality improvement) moved beyond investigating what interventions worked, to investigating the processes that support the implementation, fidelity, and sustainability of PW-PBIS to ensure positive outcomes for children with challenging behavior. The quality assurance and quality improvement processes worked by collecting and utilizing data to monitor and evaluate performance against the established PW-PBIS benchmarks. This support helped to create incentives to implement PW-PBIS and to improve the implementation of PW-PBIS. As a result of a continuous, iterative, and interactive evaluation of the quantity and quality of implementation of PWPBIS, there was evidence of high fidelity rate of PW-PBIS, effective implementation of PW-PBIS resulting in few incidences of challenging behavior, and early educators rethinking their views on challenging behavior.