Who is on your child’s team at school?
When most people think of special education, they think of Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs), and while SERTs certainly play a key role, there are many other team members involved in helping your child achieve the best possible outcomes and help set them up for success.
Parents play the most significant role in their child’s education, but a close second is the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher should always be the first point of contact for questions or concerns regarding your child’s progress, whether they have been identified or not. As the educational professional who knows your child best, they are integral in developing and revising programming to continually meet the ongoing and changing needs of students receiving spec ed programming. Open and transparent communication combined with a collaborative relationship between parent and teacher is critical to ensuring every student’s success.
Exceptional students sometimes require additional support beyond what the classroom teacher can provide. Educational Assistants (EAs) work directly with those students throughout the school day.
While SERTs are primarily responsible for coordinating special education programming and services, they too may provide extra support to students withdrawn from the classroom for part of the day. SERTs can also assist parents who have programming concerns. Itinerant SERTs and Special Education Consultants, operating at the Board level, provide additional support to school level SERTs.
Principals have ultimate responsibility for successful program delivery and would be the next point of contact for issues not resolved at the teacher / SERT level.
Every elementary school has a Child & Youth Counsellor (CYC), either full or part time. They are there to assist with social, emotional, and behavioural issues and play a key role in the mental health of our students.
There are many other professionals who may provide support to students, depending on their individual needs. These include: Communicative Disorder Assistants, Speech-Language Pathologists, Social Workers, Psych-Ed Consultants, Behaviour Analysts, Sign Interpreters and Audiologists, just to name a few.
Submitted by Brenda Agnew, SEAC Member, Trustee Representative