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//Special Education
Special Education 2017-10-04T11:24:12+00:00

Special Education

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION PLAN

“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 students within our Catholic Schools.

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.”

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 development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) enables teachers, parents, and others involved with the student to collaboratively identify individual learning strengths and needs.  Specific teaching and learning strategies and accommodations and/or modifications to the curriculum are developed to address these needs.

At WCDSB it is our belief that all children are capable of learning. Each child develops and learns in his or her own unique way. We recognize that every child has their own special strengths and needs. Keeping the child at the centre, WCDSB provides a learning environment in which hope is nurtured and all learners realize their full potential.

What does Special Education Service look like at WCDSB?

The foundation of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is built on the principles of inclusive education. The 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.

In general 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)

In the rare instance when the student’s needs are better met outside an integrated setting a time limited partial or fully withdrawn placement is considered. 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.

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

Team Approach:

A team approach is most beneficial in helping any child with learning needs. The team includes Parents, Classroom Teacher, Special Education Teacher and Principal.

This team works collaboratively 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 transition plans from year to year and post-secondary transition plans.

Additional Resource Personal at WCDSB

When there are additional questions about a student’s strengths and needs, schools may consult with the Collaborative Team. This team is comprised of WCDSB Board level staff, and includes a Psychoeducational Consultant, Speech-Language Pathologist, Social Worker, Special Education Liaison, and Child and Youth Care Worker.

A Collaborative Team Consent form indicating parental consent will be obtained prior to discussing the student at the Collaborative Team meeting. There can be numerous outcomes from this consultation which will be discussed with the parents. If specialized assessment is considered, consent from parents will be obtained. Parental consent for specialized assessment will be initiated by the Special Education – Learning Services staff member who will complete the assessment.

In WCDSB schools may seek the services of a variety of additional resource personnel and/or services including:

Clicking on a Role above will take you to our Contact Us page which has the role description as well as the contact information for the individuals included in that role at WCDSB.

Who does WCDSB Consult with About Education

Our Special Education policies at WCDSB are rooted in the processes and standards provided by the Ministry of Education, the IEP Process, IPRC Process and the WCDSB Special Education Service Delivery Model. WCDSB’s philosophy of Special Education is based on ongoing collaboration with all stakeholders including parents, students, staff, and community partners.

Continuous consultation with Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) is a forum for consultation with our community partners.

Link to WCDSB Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC):

SEAC Committee Webpage

Link to Ministry of Education Special Education website:

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

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.

Special Education Roles and Services

When there are additional questions about a student’s strengths and needs, schools may consult with the Collaborative Team. This team is comprised of WCDSB Board level staff, and includes a Psychoeducational Consultant, Speech-Language Pathologist, Social Worker, Special Education Resource Teacher, and Child and Youth Care Worker.

A Collaborative Team Consent form indicating parental consent will be obtained prior to discussing the student at the Collaborative Team meeting. There can be numerous outcomes from this consultation which will be discussed with the parents. If specialized assessment is considered, consent from parents will be obtained. Parental consent for specialized assessment will be initiated by the Special Education – Learning Services staff member who will complete the assessment.

In WCDSB schools may seek the services of a variety of additional resource personnel and/or services including:

Special Education Placement

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) offers an inclusive and integrated programming and service structure. Consistent with Waterloo Catholic School Board’s Special Education Model and inclusive philosophy, placement in a regular class is the preferred option considered for all our students.

Changes in placement within this Program Service Model are determined through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) process and always involve significant communication with parents. 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.

Section 23 (click on this to go to info)

Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL) (click on this to go to info)

Early Identification Procedures & Intervention Strategies

Overview:

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

Model:

The model is founded on the principle of a close home-school partnership with 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.

Early intervention for students with special needs:

The Board has clearly outlined processes for students entering school with special needs. Meetings with pre-school service providers, agencies, parent(s), school staff, and system professionals clarify expectations, outline programs and services, and coordinate transfer of responsibilities.

Assessments in Special Education

Assessment is an ongoing data collection process to identify students’ strengths and needs. Assessments can lead to establishment of specific program strategies and expectations. Some students may also require more specialized assessments. 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.

Academic Assessment: assessment 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

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. This assessment 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/Interventionis 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.

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.

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 Liaisons, and through a combination of opportunities offered by other Learning Services 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.