On Aug. 30, the Lynch School of Education officially announced that Don Ricciato will be stepping down from his role as director of the Campus School after 30 years of service, a transition that will take effect on June 30, 2018.
The Campus School aims to create a supportive learning environment and nurturing curriculum to children diagnosed with Trisomy 21, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Cerebral Palsy as well as those with low incidence diagnoses such as Mitochondrial Disease, Pitt Hopkins, and Vacterl Syndrome. The center provides the opportunity for students in LSOE to gain experience and conduct research in the field of special education.
Located in Campion Hall on Main Campus, the Campus School is an integral part of the Boston College community as well as the larger Chestnut Hill and Boston communities, and Ricciato discloses that this aspect enriched his many years as director.
“I would have to say what I’ve liked best about Campus School is the extraordinary community of people that I’ve had to work with,” Ricciato said. “Obviously our students and their families, the Campus School staff, the University students, both undergraduate and graduate students I’ve worked with, the staff, faculty, and administration.”
In the past three decades in which he’s served the Campus School, he has assumed a wide range of roles, teaching special education classes in LSOE, counseling students who want to pursue a career in special education, and serving as the assistant principal, principal, and finally director of the program.
Ricciato approaches his final year as director with goals of continuing to improve the Campus School’s services for students. He wants to capitalize on the frequently advancing technologies available for special needs, and he holds that their recent addition of new flat screen televisions have aided their work.
“I’m primarily focusing on continuing to keep the program strong, moving it forward, trying to make improvements with some of our facilities and any updates we can do with the space that we have here on campus,” he said.
In his new part-time position at the Campus School, he said that he wants to continue his involvement with a focus on embracing new opportunities that may come his way.
“I really enjoy my teaching, and I want to be able to continue that and be able to work with people who are looking to either go into the field of disability education or just want to learn about the lives of people with special needs,” he said.
He acknowledged that his work is beyond simply informing those who want to pursue careers in special education, saying that there is a communal obligation to ensure all individuals with a learning disabilities are able to persist as “contributing members of society.”
While he is sad to depart from the bright daily setting the Campus School offers, including both its students and staff, he remains confident that the Campus School will always be a center of positivity and growth, emphasizing again its foundation of community.
“We’re just very fortunate to have a program like this on a university campus, we really do have this wonderful community,” he said. “It’s why our families have chosen the campus school … The people that I’ve encountered in all of my years working at Boston College are just extraordinary people.”
Featured Image Courtesy of bc.edu