Soon after completing my doctorate degree in reading and special education, I embarked in a journey to support struggling learners. I began my research trajectory by investigating why teachers refer bilingual English learners and Hispanic students for special education services. This line of research quickly led me to Response to Intervention (RTI) in the early 2000s. I began reading and learning about the implementation of RTI. I soon found funding to begin my own study in a large urban school district. Since then, I had studied and consulted for over 120 schools across the country from a variety of districts. I have provided ongoing professional development, developed graduate programs, and created online courses for a couple of companies to help teachers learn about multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) as an instructional framework that uses prevention and intervention for all students including bilingual English learners and students with disabilities.
MTSS refers to a framework that preventively organizes instruction and interventions for students by providing three tiers of instruction depending on need. Need is identified before students fail by using curriculum-based measurement at the beginning, middle, and end of the year minimally for all students. Based on this data schools and teacher teams and school can reallocate support for students who need it and monitor ongoing growth across grade levels and subgroup of students (e.g. English learners, English learners with disabilities). Teachers collect ongoing progress monitoring data to ensure that the additional tiered support provided is, in fact, making an impact on important education standards in reading and math for each student.
My goal today is to start a new video series where I provide you with my consultation services on how to begin the trajectory of implementation of MTSS. The series will consist of small video lessons that address each element of the model paired up with tools to help you implement it. I will address how the model embeds universal design for learning (UDL), culturally responsive teaching, and culturally relevant assessment practices to drive instruction. Below is my adaptation of the MTSS model triangle.
I hope to develop a video weekly. Feel free to send me questions and provide me with examples and feedback.
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.