Date of Conferral







Lorraine Cleeton


The concepts of professional learning communities and organizational disciplines support staff development and leadership that lead to sustainable systems. Little research has examined the ability of rural schools to achieve sustainable systems. This quantitative design study considered the relationships between predictor variables of administrative roles and staff development and the criterion variable of Response to Intervention (RtI) implementation level. Administrator roles included planning and scheduling training, participating in training, planning implementation, building knowledge and commitment, selecting RtI teams, participating on teams, promoting parental involvement, evaluating RtI, and implementing follow-up and targeted training. Staff development practices addressed commitment and support, team processes, the three-tiered system, selfassessments, evidence based practices, and monitoring and action planning. A stepwise regression was used to analyze data based on survey responses of 131 RtI team members in rural schools in the western United States. Results indicated high correlations between level of implementation and training in evidence-based practices, self-assessments, and monitoring and action-planning. Leadership roles related to building knowledge and commitment, selecting RtI team members, promoting parental involvement, and including RtI in evaluations were strong predictors of overall level of implementation as well. This study may have a significant and positive impact on social change by identifying areas for training and leadership focus. This may reduce the misallocation of funds and negative perceptions toward RtI, leading to higher quality, targeted training, better use of leadership time, and increased satisfaction and sustainability.