News & Press

Tulane University Study Finds Kickboard School Culture System Reduces Suspensions

New white paper outlines process to achieve similar reductions in suspensions with data-driven approach, Kickboard platform and professional development services

NEW ORLEANS — Jan. 8, 2019 — Suspensions are associated with a variety of negative student outcomes, and more than 3 million students face out-of-school suspensions each year. As K-12 educators search for ways to improve student behavior and reduce discipline incidents, a study from Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance for New Orleans provides rigorous new evidence that a data-driven approach can have a measurable impact on student outcomes. The study, which analyzed 70 schools over a six-year period, found that the Kickboard school culture system reduced the number of suspensions per student by 26 to 72 percent, and it reduced the number of suspension days by at least 52 percent.

To help K-12 educators put this research into practice, these findings and an evidence-based process to achieve similar reductions are outlined in a new white paper, “Evidence-Based​ ​​Toolkit for Purposeful Suspension Reduction.” In the paper, school climate experts Kent Peterson and Tom Hierck outline several steps to reduce suspensions and discipline referrals using the Kickboard school culture system, which includes a highly configurable, web-based platform and collaborative, research-based professional development services.

According to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), for an intervention to be supported by strong or moderate evidence, there must be at least one well-designed, well-implemented experimental or quasi-experimental study. “Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance study is a well-implemented quasi-experimental study, as described by ESSA. This places Kickboard as the only recently studied high level two, evidence-based behavior platform solution for districts and schools,” said Peterson.

“In their efforts to reduce suspensions, one of the most common errors schools make is focusing on Tier II or Tier III supports without first addressing schoolwide systems for fostering positive behavior and a positive school culture,” said Hierck. “With an action plan aligned to a strategic goal and diligent progress monitoring systems, schools ​can reduce discipline incidents and suspensions, and keep students in class actively learning.”

Peterson is an author and emeritus professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hierck is an educator and author of several books.

For a free copy of the white paper, visit

For information about Kickboard, visit


Leslie Eicher, APR