Interview With Claudia Rinaldi, Ph.D.

Claudia RinaldiClaudia Rinaldi, Ph.D. is the Chair of Education as well as an Associate Professor. She focuses her work and research on the implementation of comprehensive school reform efforts using evidenced-based models including Response to Intervention, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, and Multi-Tier System of Support. Dr. Rinaldi is author and co-author of several publications on Response to Intervention (RTI), behavior disorders, learning disabilities, and issues related to English language learners.

Can you tell us about your background?
“Prior to coming to Lasell, I was conducting research on school reform change efforts like Response to Intervention, or RTI, at Boston College; and later supporting this model’s implementation in large urban school districts as a Project Director for the Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative at Education Development Center. My time in higher education and the non-profit sector have prepared me to bring back the realities of public schooling to the college classroom.”

Can you comment on teaching job projections in Massachusetts?
“Based on research and national reports that follow the job market for teachers and school leaders, there is and will be critical need for teachers as baby boomers continue to retire. Licensure and preparation programs that prepare students to work with diverse learners, English learners and individuals with disabilities, are in high demand as districts expect teachers to provide a strong core instruction using differentiation with all learners.”

What skills are essential for teachers today?
“Teaching skills that support English learners and students with disabilities, as well as, strong classroom management skills are essential in today’s classrooms. In addition, knowing how to integrate the Common Core State Standards, use data-driven instruction, and integrate the principles of universally-designed classrooms are others skills that will prove to differentiate between good teachers and great teachers.”

Will you comment on current trends in education/public school systems?
“Current trends in education include the growth in tiered instruction and data-driven problem solving in schools, universal design for learning (UDL), and integration of technology for personal learning. Current trends provide a critical view of education in America including the effectiveness and quality of teachers the educational opportunities they provide. This is an issue that will not go away. As a result, our teacher education program here at Lasell mirrors the expectations teachers have in the field thereby preparing them to be the leaders in our future teacher force.”

How does Lasell prepare its graduates for success in today’s market? 
“Here at Lasell, our education program is one of the only ones in the area that truly embeds tiered instruction or response to intervention, universal design for learning (UDL), and English learners strategies throughout all our courses in the early childhood, elementary and secondary education programs. Because of the faculty in the program, we bridge the most critical areas that address the needs of any child: literacy, tiered instruction, UDL, and specialized education within urban and suburban settings. We also bring a rich national and local experience and presence by having national presence on boards and professional organizations that guide leaders in the research community.”