So I have been working on an amazing project with a large urban school. Is it magic? No, its actually my favorite model, the model I have been working on for 4 years, Response to Intervention but with a twist. The big difference is the systemic approach to this model. One district and twenty eight of their schools have embarked in this expedition and let’s say its moving right along. We have trail blazers and we have slow blazers but everyone is having an impact. What do I consider an impact? All schools have been engaged in conversation about what is core instruction in literacy, math, or social and behavioral areas. When was the last time we did that? Do what? All schools are critically analyzing their core, identifying what is missing, evaluating how they can ensure its delivered with fidelity and being deliberate about its responsiveness to their unique population. That in itself is huge success! Secondly, all schools have organized into two types of teams, a school leadership group and collaborative teacher teams that create coherence to monitoring school implementation. This means that all school leadership teams are include administrators and teacher leaders representing all teacher teams and their focus is to be problem-solvers. In these teams collaboration among the team with a focus on problem-solving and understanding data trends and challenges teams are experiencing drives their bi-monthly discussions. Thirdly, some schools focusing in reading and math have also moved in the direction of using universal benchmarks of reading and math and are using their data to guide instruction and problem-solve for individual student challenges. Evidence of the impact of doing this is clear in at least five elementary schools. That is is for now I have to get to work! In my next post I will continue to describe the progress of these schools.
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.