Response to intervention: The principals' role in managing, implementing, and evaluating this educational reform for students in need

Brian E Culot, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of the school principal in managing, implementing, and evaluating Response to Intervention. This study also sought to investigate the influence school leaders had on their organization while preparing for the implementation of the RTI program. Principal and teacher perceptions about RTI and how to best meet the needs of students in need of academic or social and emotional intervention services were also uncovered. In addition, this study sought to provide school leaders with a practical approach to implementing RTI within their school that uses technology to improve the monitoring of student progress and the effectiveness of specific student academic interventions. Eight suburban principals were interviewed to determine their understanding of Response to Intervention, how they used staff to implement RTI, how they provided professional development for teachers and staff, the cost-effectiveness of the RTI program, and how technology is being used to track and monitor the academic progress and interventions provided to students. Each of the principals were interviewed and asked questions about their role in managing, implementing, and evaluating Response to Intervention within their school and district. Six elementary and two middle school principals were selected for this study based on that their school and district has been implementing the RTI federal mandate for at least three years. They were also selected because New York State is required to implement RTI in Grades K–4 by 2012. The results indicated that despite the level of experience each subject had as a principal, levels of understanding and methods of implementation and evaluation of RTI varied. The results demonstrated that professional development, the philosophy about intervention services being provided in or out of the general education classroom, and level of direct involvement by the principal are determining factors for the effectiveness of the RTI program. The use of staff and team meeting time was helpful in enhancing the collegiality and engagement of teachers and staff. In addition, this study found a consistent pattern of RTI having an effect on the reduction of special education referrals and classifications within each school. The study concluded that the principals' role is critical in successfully establishing an RTI model that has an emphasis on staff development, effective academic intervention, and student progress monitoring. The results support the need for further study in the area of longitudinal student progress monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of RTI in every district and s school in the United States.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Culot, Brian E, "Response to intervention: The principals' role in managing, implementing, and evaluating this educational reform for students in need" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3465684.