Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson, Ed.D., Chair

Committee Member

Gary Marx, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Bleyaert, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Janet Fisher, Ed.D.


This study investigated the relationship between organizational culture and the implementation of Response to Intervention in one elementary school. It examined issues corresponding to change within a system, with particular attention to those relating to school culture. An ethnographic approach was used to gather data, including the collection of artifacts, observations, and interviews. This study found that the implementation of RTI presents numerous organizational, school culture, and leadership challenges. At the organizational level, RTI affects the entire district by changing the instructional focus to include early intervening services and the process by which students are found eligible for special education. This impacts multiple aspects of the school: scheduling, the use of instructional staff, student placement in classes, budget issues, and professional development for staff. These organizational issues present a significant challenge for a district facing a serious financial crisis. School culture plays a significant role in what is valued by the organization. Schools are a collection of individuals and their relationships with others. It is through these relationships and shared understanding that school culture is preserved. The school culture at Newberry is one of collaboration and teamwork; the irrelationships and shared values led to the successful implementation of RTI. Schools are a microcosm of the community. While schools share numerous elements, each school culture is unique. To understand a group of people, it is important to understand the contextual elements that influence individual and institutional behaviors (Schein, 1992). The village of Newberry has a unique history of rugged pioneerism and an interdependent relationship with state institutions that has influenced the school culture. The staff was able to recognize the cultural and economic benefits of state institutions and their influence on the make-up of the community and school population, which resulted in a school climate conducive to implementing RTI. This study found that school leadership plays a significant role in the implementation of RTI. Newmann (1996) found that in the majority of schools studied, the school’s ability to sustain new practices was largely dependent on the principal’s leadership. This study found that one reason the staff at Newberry was able to successfully implement RT I was the support and leadership from the school administration.

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