Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Philip Mirci, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Ron Morgan, Ph.D.

Maureen Latham, Ed.D.


education; discrepancy model; inclusion; intervention; literacy; Response to Intervention (RtI); school-wide implementation; special education


Educational Leadership | Elementary Education | Special Education and Teaching


Some special education students are in general education elementary classrooms for either all day or a portion of the day because this placement is the least restrictive environment. Creating an environment within the general education setting where special education students and other students (including those struggling academically) could succeed has been problematic. Response to Intervention has emerged as a potential strategy of supporting all students through systematically responding in differing levels of support. Given this relatively new phenomenon, the problem is a lack of understanding about how Response to Intervention (RTI) functions organizationally and an understanding of how the role of teachers would develop in this system. The purpose of this qualitative study utilized phenomenology as a methodology to understand the experiences of kindergarten- through fifth-grade teachers and the principal working in a school restructured to support school-wide Response to Intervention (RTI). Theoretical foundations provided relied upon critical theory and critical race theory; however, this study used the theoretical lens of phenomenology, which seeks to understand shared experiences, which seeks to understand shared experiences. Categories that emerged resulted from an analysis of transcribed interviews of seven general education teachers, three special education teachers, and the site principal all working with a school that had implemented a school-wide system of RTI including: components of RTI, problems with the discrepancy model, personalized learning, self-beliefs, support for RTI, and implementation obstacles.


© 2013 Leanne Leonard

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781303390500