Dear readers I am happy to share some preliminary findings from the RTI project that I conducted this past school year. As I posted last September, I implemented a Response-to-Intervention (RTI) model for reading in an urban school in the northeast. The school is in a major metropolitan area and serves 86% of English language learners (ELL), mostly Spanish-speaking. We implemented the project with 10 major professional development sessions on RTI and differentiated instruction as well as adoption of evidenced-based reading program and practices. We conducted universal screening of oral reading fluency (ORF) using DIBELS and their benchmarking system and collected monthly ORF probes for all students from Oct. to May. Preliminary results suggest that of all students in K-5th grade in September only 50% meet benchmark for oral reading fluency using DIBELS recommended benchmarking system. After implementation, the number of students K-5th grade who meet benchmark went up to 62%. In addition, preliminary results of referral rates suggest a drop from 36 students in the 2006-2007 school year before RTI to 17 in the 2007-2008 first year of implementation. Although there may be many factors that influence these changes, this preliminary look is promising. I will be working on more detailed manuscripts around this data and implementation project in the next few months.
For now enjoy the upcoming school year and the last few days of summer!
Professor Claudia Rinaldi is the Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Her areas of research are the implementation of the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework in urban settings with English learners, teacher education in bilingual special education, and diversifying the teacher pipeline. Claudia has authored peer-reviewed publications and a book for educators called Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers. She lead and developed a graduate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual Students with Disabilities for general, ESL and special education teachers geared towards applying research-informed practices to the questions and processes of identifying whether it is a language difference or a learning disability. Claudia developed a college mentoring program called Pathways to Teacher Diversity for districts and teacher education programs to partner in identifying and supporting underrepresented high school students interested in teaching careers to successfully access and persist in college. She serves in various boards including the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves as an expert for Understood.org and the National Center for Intensive Interventions.
Professor Claudia Rinaldi believes that it is critical to prepare teacher leaders who may serve as advocates and allies and who will respond to the belief that all students can learn and succeed beyond barriers like culture, language, disability poverty, and marginalization in our country and globally.