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Special Education 2017-07-17T11:53:59+00:00

Special Education

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION PLAN

This section of the website will help you to understand Special Education services at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB)

“Our Catholic Schools: heart of the community — success for each, a place for all.”

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board is committed to providing programs and services to meet the diverse needs of all student programs and services to meet the diversity of student needs within our Catholic Schools.

The focus is on the individual student and his/her optimum development within the learning environment of age appropriate peers in the home school community. In the delivery of individualized programs, Classroom Teachers are supported by their Principal, Special Education Teacher(s), Educational Assistant(s) and members of the Collaborative Team assigned to their school.

The WCDSB philosophy of Special Education is aligned with the Board’s Mission Statement:

“As disciples of Christ, we educate and nurture hope in all learners to realize their full potential to transform God’s world.”

This provision is made through the development of Individual Education Plans (IEP). This enables teachers, parents, and others involved with the student to collaboratively identify individual learning needs and to develop specific teaching and learning strategies and accommodations and/or modifications to the curriculum to address these needs.

Special Education provides programs and services to meet the diverse needs of all students, working toward a place for each and success for all. Keeping the student at the centre, each special education plan is rooted in the home school community, and supports students.

At WCDSB it is our belief that all children are capable of learning. However, each child develops and learns in his or her own unique way. We recognize that every child has their own special strengths and needs.

SPECIAL EDUCATION PLAN

What does Special Education Service look like at WCDSB?

The model of Special Education in the WCDSB is an inclusive model. It has been in place since the 1980’s, and it can truthfully be said that this Board was a pioneer in the implementation of inclusion of special needs students in Ontario. The Ministry of Education has made a statement that supports this practice…”The Ministry of Education and Training is committed to the principle that the integration of identified students should be the normal practice in Ontario when this meets the student’s needs and is in accordance with the parent’s wishes.” (Jill Hutcheson, MOET; June 9, 1994; Regulation 181/98)

Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) is committed to providing programs and services to meet the diversity of student needs within our Catholic schools. This provision is made through the development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP). Program accommodations/modifications, data collection, and further assessment may occur throughout the WCDSB Special Education process.

When an IEP needs to be developed, it enables teachers, parents and others involved with the student:

• to collaboratively identify individual learning needs,
• to develop specific teaching and learning strategies and/or curriculum accommodations and/or modifications to address these needs,
• to develop on-going assessment and reporting practices which identify progress in the achievement of the Individual Education Plan, and
• to establish a post secondary school transition plan where appropriate.

At WCDSB the focus is on the individual student and his/her optimum development within the Catholic learning environment of age appropriate peers. In the delivery of individualized programs, Classroom Teachers are supported by Special Education Teachers, Educational Assistants, and members of the Collaborative Team (Learning Services) assigned to their school.

What if I have concerns about my child at school?

Any concerns about a child’s learning, should be discussed with your child’s teacher and/or the school Principal who will then be able to outline possible next steps.

A “team” approach is most beneficial in helping any child with learning needs. The team may include Parents, Classroom Teacher, Special Education Teacher and Principal. Additional personnel involved may include; Speech-Language Pathologist, Social Worker, Special Education Resource Teacher, Psychoeducational Consultant and Child and Youth Care Worker who are all members of the Collaborative Team.

Although the foundation of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is built on the principles of inclusive education and its preferred placement for students receiving Special Education programs and services is a regular classroom, occasionally, in co-operation with parents, students are served through time limited partial and full withdrawal placements. Please see Programs section of the Special Education website.

In general, three types of Special Education programs are delivered in one or more of the following combinations:

• Classroom Placement
• Classroom Placement with Special Education Support (either in class or withdrawal)
• Congregated Placement/Alternative Placement

The selection of one or more of the time limited partial or fully withdrawn placements is made in the rare instance when the student’s needs are better met outside an integrated setting. Every student is unique and every effort is made to increase progressively the quality and quantity of inclusive time spent with members of the school community both socially and academically.

A Special Education Program is defined by the Ministry of Education in the Education Act as an educational program that:

• Is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation; and
• Includes a plan containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil.

A Special Education Service is defined by the Ministry of Education in the Education Act as:

• Facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program.

Link to Ontario Ministry of Education Special Education Website:

www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/speced.html

Secondary School Special Education Programs

In some cases, students entering secondary school require a differentiated program as they work toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, an Ontario Secondary School Certificate or a Certificate of Accomplishment.

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board operates three programs in each secondary school that have been designed for students with an IEP who have not met level 1 grade 8 expectations. They are the Essential Program, the ACTIVE Program and the Community Living Program.

For some students, achievement of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, Ontario Secondary School Certificate or Certificate of Accomplishment may take longer than four years.

The Essential Program

This program is designed for students whose Individual Education Plan indicates the student is working on grade 5-7 expectations from the Ontario Curriculum in Mathematics and Science and/or English.

In grades 9 and 10, students in the Essential Program will take special courses for credit in Mathematics and Science and/or English. They will also take a special education learning strategies course for credit that will assist the students to be successful in their grade 9 and 10 program. Upon successful completion of the grade 9 and 10 Essential Program, students will be prepared to study workplace preparation courses in grades 11 and 12. Students in the Essential Program will work to successfully complete the required 30 credits to earn their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Students who experience difficulty in meeting the requirements of this program may choose to focus on meeting the requirements for the Ontario Secondary Certificate with the understanding that they may continue to work towards a diploma at a later date.

The Essential Mathematics, Science and English courses are locally developed courses approved by the Ministry of Education. “Locally developed course are courses that meet the educational needs not met by provincial curriculum policy documents.” (OSS, p. 43).

The ACTIVE Program

 Achievement or Accomplishment, Certificate or Community Training In View of Employment (ACTIVE)

This program is designed for students whose Individual Education Plan indicates the student is working on Grade 4-5 Ontario Curriculum expectations in Mathematics and Science and/or English. The ACTIVE Program is designed to assist students with the transition from school to the workplace or the community.

The students are grouped for a portion of the day each semester. The congregated portion of the students’ program is designed and taught by Special Education teachers. The program focuses on literacy, numeracy and personal management skills. For the other part of the day, the students are integrated into a combination of the following: Religion, Technology, Physical Education, Visual Arts, Drama, Music and Business.

Each student’s program is individualized and based upon the annual goals as stated in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). Parents are invited to provide input into the development of their son’s/daughter’s annual goals. Their IEP indicates that significant modifications and accommodations are required.

Students in the ACTIVE Program may work to achieve a Certificate of Accomplishment which is non-credit bearing.

OR

Some students may take a combination of Essential/Workplace, Open and/or ACTIVE courses. If students successfully complete Credit-bearing courses, they will achieve credits. Students who study a combination of ACTIVE and Credit-bearing courses will work to achieve an Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC).

View the ACTIVE Program Brochure PDF

The Community Living Program

This program is designed for students whose Individual Education Plan indicates the student is working on primary expectations of The Ontario Curriculum or on individualized alternate expectations.

The Community Living Program will support students in their transition to supervised community involvement. The students are grouped for a portion of the day each semester. The congregated portion of the students’ program is designed and taught by Special Education teachers. The program focuses on functional literacy and numeracy and personal management skills, i.e., recreational skills, social skills and self-advocacy skills. For the other part of the day, the students are integrated into a combination of the following: Religion, Technology, Physical Education, Visual Arts, Drama, Music, and Business.

Each student’s program is individualized and based upon the annual goals as stated in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). Parents are invited to provide input into the development of their son’s and/or daughter’s annual goals. Their IEP indicates that the student is working to achieve alternate expectations.

Students in the Community Living Program will not earn credits but will work to achieve a Certificate of Accomplishment.

View the Community Living Program Brochure PDF

Gifted Education Services

Identification Process

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board uses a cognitive screening tool (Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test – CCAT) and an educational assessment to determine giftedness in students. Students scoring at or above the 98th percentile in two batteries of the CCAT are identified as “gifted”. The educational assessment analyses and summarizes the achievement levels, learning style, characteristics of giftedness, and strengths and needs of the student. Together, these assessments form the basis of a recommendation for development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student. The WCDSB identification process involves a mass screening of students in grade 4 and/or individual screening.

Grade 4 Mass Screening

As a group test, the CCAT is administered to all grade 4 students by the Special Education Teacher at each school. Students scoring at or above the 98th percentile in two or more batteries of the CCAT will be recommended for further assessment to determine the need for development of an Individual Education Plan.

Individual Screening

Parents and teachers may collaborate to recommend a student to be considered for assessment. After extensions have been provided and noted by the classroom teacher, the student will be discussed at an In-School Team meeting and further enrichment opportunities may be provided. Parents will be consulted and informed. A decision at this level may or may not include recommendation for a CCAT screen and parents will be informed. If a CCAT screen is recommended, the Special Education Teacher will administer the test and provide feedback to parents and staff regarding the results.

Programs & Services

Classroom Programs

The foundation of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is built on the principles of inclusive education. Therefore, all students in the WCDSB whose learning needs are identified as gifted receive modifications and/or alternative expectations to the curriculum in their regular class. Strategies to meet the modified expectations of learners identified as gifted may include curriculum compacting, guided independent study with a curriculum unit, learning contracts, flexible grouping, varied product choices, tiered activities, and complex questions. Alternative expectations may include guided independent study outside of the Ontario curriculum.

Acceleration

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has an acceleration policy to assist in the formalized process of accelerating identified students working on an IEP whose needs would best be served through one of the following options:

  • Full grade acceleration
  • Subject acceleration

Acceleration is a joint decision involving parents, students, the Principal, Classroom teacher and Special Education Teacher.

School-Based Opportunities

Enrichment opportunities may be facilitated at the school level by mentorship, competitions, supervised special projects, clubs, and invitational opportunities specific to each elementary and secondary school community.

Board-Based Elementary Gifted Education Programs

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board provides opportunities for identified students working on Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to congregate together and offers Gifted Education Programs The programs are offered to students in the junior (grades 4-6) and intermediate (grades 7-8) divisions, and are the responsibility of the Itinerant Teacher of the Gifted.

The goals of the programs are to provide depth, challenge, stimulation and inspiration in activities that span a variety of disciplines and offer a variety of themes, venues and guest instructors. Cooperation, interaction and friendships are facilitated and encouraged during these one day events to make them a positive experience for all student participants.

The one day programs are offered once a month (October – May) throughout the school year and invitations and permission forms are delivered to students and families from the Special Education Teacher at the student’s home school.

University Co-operative Education Program (UCEP)

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board offers the University Cooperative Education Program (UCEP) in partnership with St. Jerome’s University, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University for identified gifted and academically talented students.

This program provides students who have achieved high academic success to experience university life before leaving secondary school. In this program, students can earn a university credit, one or two Grade 12 secondary school credits (taught by secondary school teachers at the university), and two Co-op credits. Visit the co-operative education link at:

http://coop.wcdsb.ca/ucep.html

Secondary Field Trips

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board provides opportunities for identified gifted and academically talented students who need opportunities to explore future educational paths by visiting university campuses or other idea-centered venues in southern Ontario. Two or three field trips are coordinated with the assistance of each secondary school enrichment contact teacher per school year.

Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

Contests, Competitions and Challenges

For WCDSB Elementary and Secondary School Students, Parents and Teachers. 2016-2017 Edition

Click here for PDF

Special Education Placement

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) offers to its students and their parents an inclusive and integrated programming and service structure. This is based on the WCDSB’s philosophy and mission as a Catholic learning community. With some rare exceptions, this means that every student will attend her or his neighbourhood school, and will be assigned to a regular class and classroom teacher. A student with special needs may be supported with a plan as outlined in their IEP. Supports may also include additional staff (usually within the regular classroom), specialized equipment, partial individual or small group withdrawal to a learning resource centre for his/her needs and learning goals, as outlined in her/his Individual Education Plan or IEP.

Changes in placement within this Program Service Model are determined through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) processes and always involve significant communication with parents. Please see those sections of the Special Education Website for more information on these processes. Consistent with Waterloo Catholic School Board’s Special Education Model and philosophy, placement in a regular class is the first option considered for all our students.

Assigning intensive supports for students is based on system-wide information gathered by Student Services Administrators, Special Education Resource Teachers, and school Principals. Students requiring intensive supports entering the school system as well as leaving must be included in this information gathering process. Decisions are then made based on individual needs of students, staff availability, budget factors, access to service, and equity. This process is typically completed during the first month of school when student transfers/enrolment figures, etc. have stabilized. Intensive support staffing levels are then finalized for the year. This approach appears to minimize staffing changes during the school year and allows for increased continuity of programming.

Alternative placements are communicated to parents through various means including parent/school conferences, case conferences, IPRC Annual Reviews, Transition meetings to/between schools, and counselling/clinical interviews with professional staff.

The focus is on the individual student and his/her optimum development within the Catholic learning environment of age-appropriate peers. In the delivery of individualized programs, Classroom Teachers are supported by Special Education Teacher(s), Educational Assistant(s) and members of the Collaborative Team assigned to their school.

The Board’s delivery system for the provision of Special Education programs and services is organized by groups of schools. A Collaborative Team is assigned to a group of schools. This team consists of:

  • Psychoeducational Consultant
  • Social Worker
  • Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Child and Youth Care Worker(s)
  • Special Education Resource Teacher

The Collaborative Team supports the school level team which is comprised of the Principal, Classroom teacher(s), Special Education Teacher and Educational Assistant. In addition, each school has available upon request the services of the following support staff which may include:

  • Consulting Audiologist
  • Itinerant Teachers of Vision and Hearing
  • Interpreter
  • Intervener
  • Itinerant Teacher of the Gifted
  • Autism Support Officer

Early Identification Procedures & Intervention Strategies

WCDSB has a process in place for early identification procedures and intervention strategies for our students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade One. This process is mandated by the Ministry of Education (as per Policy/Program Memorandum No. 11).

Early and ongoing identification of children’s learning needs is a systematic process through which each child’s strengths and needs are identified and documented. The ultimate purpose of this process is to ensure that each child develops to maximum potential through the provision of appropriate programming.

Early and ongoing identification is not a separate program. Rather, it is an integral part of a continuous process of assessment and program planning which begins when the child is first registered for school and continues until the end of Grade 1, or beyond in some cases.

Classroom Teachers have the responsibility of gathering information, observing, collaborating with parents and other school/board staff, and seeking additional resources to assist the child. The Home-School partnership is begun during the spring registration process and continues into the fall when parents complete the School Entry Questionnaire. Information shared by parents makes an important contribution to the discussion during subsequent home-school contacts that typically occur in September, and at scheduled parent conference times during the school year.

Strong communication between home and school ensures that parents are made aware that their child may be experiencing difficulties. Procedures for referrals, assessments, identification, communication and interventions are discussed with parents as student needs arise. For more specific information about special education processes at WCDSB parents are encouraged to check the first section of the Special Education Website and to speak with their child’s Classroom Teacher and/or Principal.

The model for early and ongoing identification is founded on the principle of a close home-school partnership characterized by frequent communication and collaborative program planning. The school-based team and the Collaborative Teams are important resources to assist parents and school staff related to early identification and intervention.

In addition, the Board has clearly outlined processes to streamline the transition to school for students with special needs. Meetings with pre-school service providers, agencies, parents, school staff, and system professionals clarify expectations, outline programs and services, and coordinate transfer of responsibilities. Please see the Transitions Section of the Special Education website for more information or speak to staff at your child’s school.

Assessments in Special Education

Within Special Education, assessment is an ongoing data collection process to identify students’ strengths and needs for optimum programming purposes. Assessments can vary considerably in scope, personnel involved and length of time required and can lead to establishment of specific program strategies and expectations. Some students may require more specialized assessments as well.

WCDSB is committed to guiding teachers in aligning their practice with the principles of authentic assessment and to assist them in extending current practice to include a variety of authentic assessment, evaluation and reporting strategies and to ensure accountability for student learning. This is particularly important when dealing with students with special education needs to address their unique learning challenges. We stress parental involvement throughout the assessment process.

At WCDSB, we believe that assessment should:

  • be an integral part of the teaching/learning process;
  • emphasize the learning style and strengths of the student;
  • increase the self-knowledge and self worth of the student;
  • be appropriate to the developmental stage and rate of learning of the student;
  • aim to maximize the student’s learning experience.

Classroom teachers are involved in conducting academic assessment throughout the school year.

Academic Assessment is a process undertaken by the classroom teacher to assist in determining the strengths and needs of a student. An academic assessment may consist of an examination of written school records, discussion with parents and appropriate school personnel, observation of the student and analysis of daily work samples. Board-wide and Provincial assessments are important parts of academic assessment and include:

  • Balanced Literacy Assessment Measures (BLAM)
  • EQAO assessments in elementary and secondary in Mathematics, Reading and Writing (gr. 3 and gr. 6, Math gr. 9)
  • Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT)
  • CAT 4 (Canadian Achievement-Test 4)
  • Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

Parents should be consulted regarding student performance but no written parental consent is necessary for ongoing classroom academic assessment.

Other Assessments administered by Special Education personnel, are also provided, with parent consultation and consent. These types of assessment can include:

Educational Assessment – an assessment process undertaken by the Special Education teacher which complements the classroom academic assessment. An educational assessment may consist of observation, informal and/or standardized individual or small group tests. A written analysis of the information gathered assists school personnel in determining the strengths and needs of the student. Informed written parental consent is required.

Speech/Language Assessment – an assessment performed by a Speech/Language Pathologist. The assessment usually includes classroom observations, interviews with student, school personnel and parent(s) and both formal and informal testing. Informed written parental consent is required.

Psychoeducational Assessment/Intervention is undertaken by the Psychoeducational Consultant or Psychologist and may include standardized assessment of academic and cognitive abilities, learning styles and social/behavioural/adaptive functioning. The range of interventions may include classroom observations, review of student’s work and school records as well as interviews with the student, parents and appropriate school personnel. Informed written parental consent is required.

Ministry of Education Definitions

Special Education Roles and Services

The Ministry of Education has defined roles and responsibilities in elementary and secondary education in several key areas:

  • legislative and policy framework
  • funding
  • school system management
  • programs and curriculum

It is important that all involved in Special Education understand their roles and responsibilities, which are outlined below.

The Ministry of Education

  • defines, through the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda, the legal obligations of school boards regarding the provision of Special Education programs and services, and prescribes the categories and definitions of exceptionality;
  • ensures that school boards provide appropriate Special Education programs and services for their exceptional pupils;
  • establishes the funding for Special Education through the structure of the funding model. The model consists of the Foundation Grant, the Special Education Grant, and other special purpose grants;
  • requires school boards to report on their expenditures for Special Education;
  • sets province-wide standards for curriculum and reporting of achievement;
  • requires school boards to establish Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs);
  • establishes Special Education Tribunals to hear disputes between parents and school boards regarding the identification and placement of exceptional pupils;
  • establishes a provincial Advisory Council on Special Education to advise the Minister of Education on matters related to Special Education programs and services;
  • operates Provincial and Demonstration Schools for students who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind, or who have severe learning disabilities.

The district school board or school authority

  • establishes school board policy and practices that comply with the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda;
  • monitors school compliance with the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda;
  • requires staff to comply with the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program;
  • provides appropriately qualified staff to provide programs and services for the exceptional pupils of the board;
  • obtains the appropriate funding and reports on the expenditures for Special Education;
  • develops and maintains a Board Plan for Improving Student Learning and Achievement that is amended yearly to meet the current needs of all pupils including pupils with special needs within the board;
  • reviews the plan annually and submits amendments to the Minister of Education;
  • provides statistical reports to the ministry as required and as requested;
  • prepares a parent guide to provide parents with information about Special Education programs, services, and procedures;
  • establishes one or more IPRCs to identify exceptional pupils and determine appropriate placements for them
  • establishes a Board IPRC committee
  • provides professional development to staff on Special Education

The Special Education Advisory Committee

  • makes recommendations to the board with respect to any matter affecting the establishment, development, and delivery of Special Education programs and services for exceptional pupils of the board;
  • participates in the board’s annual review of its Special Education plan;
  • participates in the board’s annual budget process as it relates to Special Education;
  • reviews the financial statements of the board as they relate to Special Education;
  • provides information to parents, as requested.

The School Principal

  • carries out duties as outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda, and through board policies;
  • communicates Ministry of Education and school board expectations to staff;
  • ensures that appropriately qualified staff are assigned to teach Special Education classes;
  • communicates board policies and procedures about Special Education to staff, students, and parents;
  • ensures that the identification and placement of exceptional pupils, through an IPRC, is done according to the procedures outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and board policies;
  • consults with parents and with school board staff to determine the most appropriate program for exceptional pupils;
  • ensures the development, implementation, and review of a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), including a transition plan, according to provincial requirements;
  • ensures that parents are consulted in the development of their child’s IEP and that they are provided with a copy of the IEP;
  • ensures the delivery of the program as set out in the IEP;
  • ensures that appropriate assessments are requested if necessary and that parental consent is obtained.

The Teacher

  • carries out duties as outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda;
  • follows board policies and procedures regarding Special Education;
  • maintains up-to-date knowledge of Special Education practice;
  • where appropriate, works with Special Education staff and parents to develop the IEP for an exceptional pupil;
  • provides the program for the exceptional pupil in the regular class, as outlined in the IEP;
  • communicates the student’s progress to parents;
  • works with other school board staff to review and update the student’s IEP.

The Special Education Teacher

in addition to the responsibilities listed above under “the teacher”

  • holds qualifications, in accordance with Regulation 298, to teach Special Education;
  • monitors the student’s progress with reference to the IEP and modifies the program as necessary;
  • assists in providing educational assessments for exceptional pupils.

The Parent/Guardian

  • becomes familiar with and informed about board policies and procedures in areas that affect the child;
  • participates in IPRCs, parent-teacher conferences, and other relevant school activities;
  • participates in the development of the IEP;
  • becomes acquainted with the school staff working with the student;
  • supports the student at home;
  • works with the school principal and teachers to solve problems;
  • is responsible for the student’s attendance at school.

The Student

  • complies with the requirements as outlined in the Education Act, regulations, and policy/program memoranda;
  • complies with board policies and procedures;
  • participates in IPRCs, parent-teacher conferences, and other activities, as appropriate.

Staff Development

WCDSB is committed to providing targeted, research based staff development activities to build capacity, skills and knowledge for Principals, teachers (both classroom and special education) educational assistants, and allied professionals to ensure that high quality programs and services are provided for all our students. Topics for staff development are suggested and developed through many sources including; school staffs, board level special education staff, SEAC, parents and senior level administration and the Ministry of Education.

Each year the WCDSB Board Plan for Improved Student Learning and Achievement is developed. The plan has the input of Senior Administration, school Principals, Learning Services staff and members of SEAC. This plan outlines the direction for the upcoming school year from JK to Grade 12 and assists in shaping the staff development needs of our system. As well, Ministry of Education directives and priorities influence our system staff development priorities.

The WCDSB Board Plan is available at WCDSB-about us and scroll down the list under About Us to the document listed there.

There are many staff development workshops and inservices are advertised and conducted for all staff throughout WCDSB. Some examples are listed below:

  • Educational Assistants will continue to have system PD days dedicated to training. Sample workshops included; Geneva Centre Training in Autism related topics, Assistive Technology Training, Behaviour Management Systems Training, and Health and Safety Training.
  • All teachers new to special education receive additional training throughout the school year through in-service delivered by our Special Education Resource Teachers, and through a combination of opportunities offered by other Learning Services Staff.
  • The Board has participated in a number of joint professional development arrangements with community partners (e.g. Family & Children’s Services, Lutherwood, KidsLink) for presentations to Board staff; or pooling resources to bring in speakers (e.g. from the Alliance for Children and Youth). Collaborative ventures with various providers of children’s services (e.g. Imagine, EIEI) have resulted in informal and formal professional development for both school and community staff.
  • WCDSB staff have participated in staff development opportunities in such topics as Autism, Individual Education Plans, Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Universal Supports, Gifted Education, and targeted Literacy Programs such as Empower and Corrective Reading.

Coordination of Services with Other Agencies or Ministries

WCDSB has a protocol for partnerships with external agencies that is outlined in the Administrative Procedures Memorandum APC 026. It “establishes the parameters and procedures governing educational partnerships with community and government organizations/agencies to support student engagement and success in collaboration with schools and staff within the Waterloo Catholic District School Board” (taken from APC 026).

This protocol is based on Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum PPM 149 as well as other documents and allows for provision of services by regulated health professionals, regulated social service professionals and paraprofessionals in the schools.

To view WCDSB’s Educational Partnership Administrative Procedures Memo 026 please use the following link: https://www.wcdsb.ca/ap_memos/PDF/APO026.pdf

There are a number of specific processes in place for the coordination of services for students with special education needs making the transition from home, preschool or a provincial school to our schools. WCDSB works in partnership with a number of community agencies in order to coordinate the delivery of services and to provide seamless transitions, for students in our schools.

Please also see the Student Transitions section and the Special Education Programs section of the WCDSB Special Education website for more information.

Coordination of services for students in WCDSB is provided using protocols such as:

  • Preschool Transition to School for children with special needs in preschool placements and early childhood education programs through the Child Care Special Needs Resourcing Partnership. This includes children with more complex needs as well as those coming from preschool speech and language services. Parents are involved in the transition planning and attend a case conference if required, usually held in the spring prior to their child’s entry into school.
  • Connections for Students Program for transition of Students with Autism in publically funded Autism intervention programs to school. This program occurs at a set interval prior to and after a student is discharged from their Autism intervention program (publically funded programs only). See the Transitions Section of the Special Education website for more information.
  • Preschool programs for students who are Deaf (where the term Deaf is taken to mean that the student has no hearing and where they cannot be aided and/or the parents do not choose an oral approach), the student is referred to E.C. Drury School in Milton by the WCDSB educational audiologist. Students that are 2 years of age and hard of hearing are referred to the board audiologist by family doctors or an audiologist. Home instruction is provided by an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on a weekly basis or the student is referred to E.C. Drury Provincial School for support.
  • Care, Treatment And Correctional Programs School personnel including WCDSB senior administration, and WCDSB staff such as social workers, school principal and/or guidance counsellor are informed by partner agencies regarding students entering our system from a care, treatment and correctional program. With parental consent and participation, discharge case conferences are held and plans are developed and shared to ensure a positive transition for the student’s entry or re-entry into school. Appropriate WCDSB staff meet on a regular basis with staff from Care, Treatment and Correctional Programs (e.g., Young Adult Program, KidsLink, Lutherwood, Family and Children’s Services) to share program goals, provide updates, coordinate program transfers, and to ensure effective communication and care for the student.

Other related documents: