Beach Center on Disability

Response to Intervention (RtI)


There are a group of projects at the Beach Center all related to an approach called, Response to Intervention (RtI). Response to intervention is a problem solving model used by school teams to help students make academic gains while reducing problem behavior. School teams use academic and behavioral data to make decisions about how much support a student needs to be successful. The team then specifically selects interventions matched to the student’s need.

The major hallmarks of RtI include:

  • Effective early screening of students to identify academic and behavioral needs;
  • Specifically selected interventions matched to individual student need;
  • Ongoing progress monitoring of student performance;
  • School teams focused on close monitoring of student data to problem solve how to best support students both academically and behaviorally.

The primary goal of RtI is to get students what they need when they need it.

The four major areas of RtI work here at the Beach Center include; School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Schoolwide Applications Model (SAM), Agency-based RtI, and a federally funded RtI Leadership Preparation Grant to prepare Ph.D. level students to implement RtI in urban schools. 

Please link here for an article from Education Week entitled "Senate Introduces Bill Limiting Restraints, Seclusion."


School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) is a systematic approach to preventing and reducing students’ challenging behaviors in schools. Our specific SWPBIS work at the Beach Center focuses on creating a systemic approach to building school and district-wide capacity in an effort to support students with behavioral needs. This includes providing schools with technical assistance, staff training, and resources to improve student behavior. Please visit the national PBIS site, for in-depth PBIS information and resources.


SAM is a schoolwide response to intervention (RtI) model, which means school leaders and teachers use individual student achievement and behavior data to identify three tiers of supports, varying in intensity, for all students to progress and meet grade level expectations. Frequent and ongoing progress monitoring assessments help determine the instructional approaches best suited to meet each student’s needs.

Utilizing Response to Intervention (RtI) Strategies such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in new settings such as early childhood centers and community mental health agencies to deal with behavior challenges has been an ongoing goal of two researchers at the Beach Center on Disability.

This project is funded by the federal government’s Office of Special Education Programs to pay tuition and a stipend to graduate students who are interested in learning how to use RtI in urban schools. The primary investigator for this grant, Dr. Wayne Sailor is a leader in the field of education reform and takes an active role in guiding the students through the Ph.D. program.