Greenfield, R., Rinaldi, C., Proctor, P., & Cardarelli, A. (2010). Teachers’ perceptions of RTI reform in an urban elementary school: A consensual qualitative analysis. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 21(2), 47-63.
Federal policies to increase student achievement and improve teacher quality underlie this study. After the first year of implementation, eight elementary teachers were interviewed about how they viewed a Response to Intervention (RTI) reform effort. RTI is a federal policy intended to reform instruction by using a tiered, school-wide system. The following question drove our research: After the first year of implementation, how do educators view the RTI change process? Data were analyzed using a consensual qualitative methodology. Results indicated that teachers positively viewed the reform effort. However, many teachers expressed concerns about the implementation of RTI. The majority of teachers associated the following positive outcomes with the first year of reform: using data to inform instructional planning, using progress monitoring to measure the effectiveness of the instruction, and better knowing “when” to refer English language learners for special education services. Teachers identified the culture of the school as “positively mixed,” meaning positive shifts are taking place and teachers are working along a continuum of understanding and adoption practices. Key concerns of implementation are also presented as implications for effective adoption of the model at the elementary school level.
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.