Implementing RTI in Two Rural Elementary Schools: Encouraging Beginnings and Challenges for the Future

Gretchen G. Robinson, William D. Bursuck, Kristin D. Sinclair


Response to Intervention (RTI) models are currently being implemented in many school districts nationwide. However, at a time when interest in RTI is high, the extent to which it is being implemented effectively in rural schools is largely unknown. Teachers and administrators in two rural elementary schools in the Southeastern United States who were part of a state-wide RTI pilot project participated in this study. Interviews were conducted along with field observations of classroom instruction and team problem-solving meetings. Using a multi-step process for data analysis, various implementation themes emerged related to tiered instruction, data-based decision making, support for model implementation, and collaboration. Findings in these areas support issues raised in the literature regarding factors in rural schools that may impede or enhance fidelity of model implementation. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.


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