In the Halton Catholic District School Board, every effort is made to provide programs and services to support pupils with exceptionalities in the regular class setting.
We believe that pupils with exceptionalities should:
- Receive appropriate special education programs and services;
- have regular opportunities to interact with their peers, to enjoy the life of the school, and to participate in local community activities.
To these ends, the Board has adopted an Inclusion Policy.
- Specific behaviour problems over a period of time and to a marked degree
- Learning Disability
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Speech and Language Impairment
- Mild Intellectual Disability
- Developmental Disability
- Physical Disability
- Blind and Low Vision
- A combination of learning or other disorders, impairments or physical disabilities
As parents you are most aware of your child's strengths and needs. Your initial contact with the school regarding your child's academic, social or emotional progress should be with the classroom teacher. If there are still unanswered questions, your next contact should be the school principal.
It has been our experience that most issues and / or concerns regarding a pupil's education can be resolved at the school level through the involvement of the in-school special education team or the special education support team.
With the valuable input from parents, this collaborative approach often results in the implementation of modifications to the pupil's educational plan which are required to meet his / her individual needs.
It is important for the parents of our school community to know that principals and staff of secondary schools meet with elementary teachers and principals to discuss consistency of effective programming and secondary school options for all pupils. Parents of exceptional pupils are encouraged to discuss these options with the appropriate personnel prior to endorsing any option sheets.
For further information regarding Special Education, parents are encouraged to talk to their school principals.
In-School Special Education Team
Special Education Support Team
The team includes the school principal (who acts as chairperson); a teacher from each of the primary, junior, and intermediate levels in the elementary schools; subject teachers in the secondary schools and special education resource teachers. The in-school special education team is a collaborative problem-solving group which holds regular meetings throughout the school year. This process encourages classroom teachers to assist their colleagues in resolving instructional problems while searching out new teaching strategies and ideas. Good teaching practices are appropriate to all pupils, as all pupils have learning strengths and individual learning styles.
This is a team of professionals from central office who make regular visits to a family of schools. Through the direction of the Special Education consultant they interact with the in-school team to problem solve around very difficult situations. Acting as collaborative consultants, they provide support for principals, teachers and other staff. Through the Special Education consultants, other central office resources can be assessed. This team has an important role to play in school program monitoring and improvement.
Special Education Resource Teacher (S.E.R.T )
The resource teacher's role is defined as emphasizing collaboration and peer support for the regular classroom teacher. The resource teacher is responsible for assisting the classroom teacher to develop strategies and activities to support the inclusion of exceptional pupils within the regular classroom. The resource teacher carries out a variety of activities but all are designed to help teachers solve problems and work out the best alternatives for instruction. Among these are the following:
- program implementation;
- program monitoring;
- direct instruction;
- communication and liaison with parents and
- community agencies.
Special Education Support Personnel
The Special Education Department provides support for schools in the following areas:
- Child and Youth Counselling
- Speech and Language Pathology
- Hearing and Vision
- Alternative Education Programs
- Computer Resource Technology
- Psychological Services
Behaviour Resource Team (BRT)
This is a team that assesses, and then may intervene, to assist pupils who exhibit extreme misbehaviours over a prolonged period. This is done collaboratively with the in-school team. Together, they develop and organize plans in conjunction with the classroom teacher, the pupil, and the family. The plan is implemented and its effectiveness reviewed.
This may involve the parents and other service providers. Behavior Team members will assist the classroom teacher with implementing the plan. The personnel involved have regular contact to ensure that the change is taking place. Adjustments and modifications to the plan are made as needed.
Educational Assistants (E.A.s)
Educational Assistants are assigned centrally to the individual school principal, based on the individual school's intensive support amount claims. They are assigned to assist the school in the following areas of exceptionality as outlined by the Ministry of Education and Training:
- Physical Behavioural
- Pervasive Development Disorder (Autism)
- Developmental Disability