Education intern with two young boys
John McKenna, UMass Lowell Assistant Professor
John William McKennaAssistant Professor of Moderate Disabilities


  • Ph D: Special Education, The University of Texas at Austin
    Supporting Area: Students with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (2018), Teaching - University of Massachusetts Lowell, College of Education
  • Faculty Research Consortium Faculty Excellence Award (2016), Scholarship/Research - St. John's University, Vincentian Institute for Social Action
  • Faculty Recognition Award (2015), Teaching - St. John’s University
  • Co-Author of Must Read in Special Education for 2012 (2013), Scholarship/Research - Council for Learning Disabilities
  • Outstanding Service Award: Childcare Worker of the Year (1997), Teaching - Italian Home for Children

Selected Publications

  • Brigham, F., McKenna, J., Lavin, C., Koc, M., Watkins, L., Brigham, M., (2019) "The urgent and the always: Intervening on behavior problems in young children," Emerald Publishing Group
  • Adamson, R., McKenna, J., Mitchell, B., (2018) "Creating a tiered continuum of behavior support at the classroom level to enhance school-wide multi-tiered systems of support," Preventing School Failure
  • McKenna, J., Shin, M., Solis, M., Mize, M., Pfannenstiel, K. (2018) "Effects of Single-Case Reading Interventions for Students with and At-Risk of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Grades K-12: A Quantitative Synthesis," Psychology in the Schools
  • McKenna, J., Bettini, E. (2018) "Improving reading fluency skills for secondary students with emotional and behavioral disorders," Beyond Behavior 27:2 pp. 74-81
  • Brigham, F., McKenna, J., Lavin, C., Brigham, M., Zurawski, L., (2018) "Promoting positive freedoms for secondary students with emotional and behavioral disorders: The role of instruction," Emerald Publishing Group
  • Ciullo, S., Ely, E., McKenna, J., Alves, K., Kennedy, M., (2018) "Reading instruction for students with learning disabilities in grades four and five: An observation study," Learning Disability Quarterly
  • McKenna, J., Solis, M., Brigham , F., Adamson, R. (2018) "The Responsible Inclusion of Students Receiving Special Education Services for Emotional Disturbance: Unraveling the Practice to Research Gap ," Behavior Modification
  • McKenna, J. (2018) "Use of mixed methods to identify teacher and student needs: Reflections on a partnership with a residential and day school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders," Sage Research Methods Cases
  • McKenna, J., Kim, M., Shin, M., Pfannenstiel, K. (2017) "An evaluation of single-case reading intervention study quality for students with and at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders," Behavior Modification 41:6 pp. 868-906
  • Flower, A., McKenna, J., Haring, C.D. (2017) "Behavior and classroom management: Are teacher preparation programs really preparing our teachers?," Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth 61:2 pp. 163-169
  • Mitchell, B.S., Adamson, R., McKenna, J. (2017) "Curbing Our Enthusiasm: An Analysis of the Check-In/Check-Out Literature Using the Council for Exceptional Children’s Evidence-Based Practice Standards.," Behavior Modification 41:3 pp. 343-367
  • McKenna, J., Parenti, M. (2017) "Fidelity assessment to improve teacher instruction and school decision-making ," Journal of Applied School Psychology 33:4 pp. 331-346
  • Kim, M., McKenna , J., Park, M. (2017) "The use of computer-assisted instruction to improve the reading comprehension of students with learning disabilities ," Remedial and Special Education 38:4 pp. 233-245
  • Shin, M., Bryant, D.P., Bryant, B.R., McKenna, J., Hou, F., Ok, M.W. (2017) "Virtual manipulatives: Tools for teaching fractions to students with learning disabilities ," Intervention in School & Clinic 52:3 pp. 148 - 153
  • McKenna, J., Flower, A., Falcomatta, T., Adamson, R. (2017) "Function-based replacement behavior interventions for students with problem behavior ," Behavioral Interventions 32:4 pp. 379-398
  • Brigham, F.J., Ahn, S.Y., Stride, A.N., McKenna, J. (2016) "FAPE-Accompli: Misapplication of the Principles of Inclusion and Students with EBD," Emerald Group Publishing Limited pp. 31-47
  • Kang, E.Y., McKenna, J., Arden, S., Ciullo, S. (2016) "Integrated Reading and Writing Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Review of the Literature," Learning Disabilities Research & Practice 31:1 pp. 22-33
  • Shin, M., Lee, H., McKenna , J. (2016) "Special education and general education preservice teachers’ co-teaching experiences: a comparative synthesis of qualitative research," International Journal of Inclusive Education 20:1 pp. 91-107
  • Sciuchetti, B., McKenna , J., Flower , A. (2016) "Teacher knowledge and selection of evidence-based practices: A survey study ," Journal of Vincentian Social Action 1:2 pp. 20-31
  • McKenna , J., Ciullo, S. (2016) "Typical reading instructional practices provided to students with emotional and behavioral disorders in a residential and day treatment setting: A mixed methods study," Residential Treatment for Children & Youth 33:3-4 pp. 225-246
  • McKenna , J., Flower, A., Adamson, R. (2016) "A Systematic Review of Function-Based Replacement Behavior Interventions for Students With and At Risk for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders," Behavior Modification 40:5 pp. 678-712
  • Flower, A., McKenna , J., Upreti, G. (2016) "Validity and Reliability of GraphClick and DataThief III for Data Extraction," Behavior Modification 40:3 pp. 396-413
  • McKenna , J., Flower, A., Kim, M.K., Ciullo, S., Haring, C. (2015) "A Systematic Review of Function-Based Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities," Learning Disabilities Research & Practice 30:1 pp. 15-28
  • McKenna , J., Shin, M., Ciullo, S. (2015) "Evaluating Reading and Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Disabilities: A Synthesis of Observation Research," Learning Disability Quarterly 38:4 pp. 195-207
  • Roberts, G.J., Solis, M., Ciullo, S., McKenna , J., Vaughn, S. (2015) "Reading interventions with behavioral and social skill outcomes: a synthesis of research," Behavior Modification 39:1 pp. 8-42
  • Flower, A., McKenna , J., Haring, C., Pazey, B. (2015) "School to life transition: Perceptions of youth in behavior intervention programs ," Preventing School Failure 59:4 pp. 217-226
  • McKenna , J., Muething, C., Flower, A., Bryant, D.P., Bryant, B. (2015) "Use and relationships among effective practices in co-taught inclusive high school classrooms," International Journal of Inclusive Education 19:1 pp. 53-70
  • Flower, A., McKenna , J., Bunuan, R.L., Muething, C.S., Vega, R. (2014) "Effects of the Good Behavior Game on challenging behaviors in school settings," Review of Educational Research 84:4 pp. 546-571
  • Flower, A., McKenna , J., Muething, C., Bryant, D., Bryant , B. (2014) "Effects of the Good Behavior Game on classwide off-task behavior in a high school algebra resource room ," Behavior Modification 38:1 pp. 45-68
  • McKenna , J., Flower, A. (2014) "Get Them Back on Track: Use of the Good Behavior Game to Improve Student Behavior.," Beyond Behavior 23:2 pp. 20-26
  • McKenna , J., Flower, A., Ciullo, S. (2014) "Measuring fidelity to improve intervention effectiveness," Intervention in School and Clinic 50:1 pp. 15-21
  • McKenna , J. (2013) "The Disproportionate Representation of African Americans in Programs for Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders," Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth 57:4 pp. 206-211
  • Swanson, E., Solis, M., Ciullo, S., McKenna , J. (2012) "Special education teachers’ perceptions and instructional practices in response to intervention implementation," Learning Disability Quarterly 35:2 pp. 115-126

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Seed Grant (2017), Grant - University of Massachusetts Lowell
    McKenna, J.
  • Faculty Seed Grant. (), Grant - St. John’s University
    McKenna, J.
  • Improving Teacher Effectiveness in High Need/Low Resourced Schools. Sinatra Foundation Grant (), Grant - St. John’s University
    McKenna, J.
  • Long Graduate Fellowship (), Fellowship - The Long Foundation
    McKenna, J.
  • Graduate Student Recruitment Fellowship (), Fellowship - University of Texas at Austin
    McKenna, J.
  • Newton Schools Foundation Grant: Science at the Elementary Stabilization Program (), Grant -
    McKenna, J.
  • Cambridge Savings Bank Grant: Universal Design for Learning (), Grant -
    McKenna, J.
  • Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders Practitioner Grant: Social Skills Through Film and Drama (), Grant -
    McKenna, J.