Term of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Hsiu-Lien Lu

Committee Member 1

Kymberly Drawdy

Committee Member 2

Devon Jensen

Abstract

Principals are responsible for overseeing all of the school’s programs and initiatives. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a federal initiative that is a multi-tiered approach to highquality instruction and ongoing monitoring of students’ academic and behavioral progress. Although RTI models vary across the U.S., it is the principal who is accountable for students’ overall achievement within the building. With teachers as the direct recipients and observers of their leadership practices, principals implement a tiered intervention process under the influence of national and state guidelines although best practices for implementation are limited.

he purpose of this study was to investigate teacher perceptions of their principals’ practices during RTI implementation. A quantitative study, survey responses were analyzed using a statistical analysis program (SPSS) whereby a regression, correlation and ANOVA analysis were conducted. Results support the literature and reveal that principals’ leadership practices towards RTI implementation are critical and perceived as favorable among teachers. More specifically, southeastern Georgia principals demonstrate the five leadership practices of model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, encourage the heart and enable others to act as defined by the literature.

In response to research questions, data analysis revealed three major findings: 1) the frequency of RTI related principal-teacher interactions is a predictor of favorable teachers’ perceptions of principals’ leadership practices during implementation, 2) school counselors and psychologists have the most frequent RTI-related interactions with principals, 3) school counselors are the primary person in charge of RTI implementation in southeastern Georgia schools. Recommendations for practice are that: 1) principals meet with teachers consistently at the minimum rate of every three months to discuss students’ progress within the model and 2) for principals and counselors to have ongoing quality exchanges regarding students’ progress within the model as well; considering the critical role of counselors as lead coordinator of RTI within participating schools.

This study emphasized principal leadership as the most influential component of successful RTI implementation. The daily demands of the elementary principal presents its own challenges; however, best practices for principal leadership towards RTI implementation can produce positive outcomes and improve students’ behavioral and academic goals.

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