Entry to School

Supporting the Transition to Kindergarten

As all parents register their child at their local school, they are invited to voluntarily complete the HCDSB Kindergarten Questionnaire, which is available online (provided by a link when the parent registers online).  The questionnaire is for all students entering the Junior Kindergarten year. In addition, parents of children who have special education needs, are also requested to complete a Student Information Form (SE14). A copy of the completed HCDSB Kindergarten Questionnaire along with the Student Information Form are forwarded to the Special Education Consultant who will support the school/child in the transition plan process.

All parents of incoming students with special education needs are invited to attend a Kindergarten Information Night typically held in February/March of each school year. The evening consists of:

  • a presentation by a representative(s) from SEAC on their role and availability as a support to parents
  • an overview of the special education delivery model, including the support available through community agencies
  • an introduction to Speech and Language Services within the Board
  • a description of transition to school planning
  • a parent presentation regarding their family’s experience transitioning their child with special needs
  • a question and answer period
  • an opportunity to meet and dialogue with the Special Education Consultants

The Special Education Consultant or designate (school based SERT) contacts the parent(s) and arranges a visit to the pre-school program, daycare or home of the child for observation. The Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) from the home school attends the observation with the Special Education Consultant and/or designate (e.g. ISERT).  This occurs in the spring of every year.  Following the observation, a case conference is scheduled with parents, daycare providers and other outside agencies/professionals involved with the child (e.g., ErinoakKids for Occupational therapy/ Physiotherapy/ Speech and Language therapy, Halton Region Resource Consultant). Information sharing occurs with all parties.  Attendees may include the principal, the SERT, the ISERT, the Consultant, the Classroom Teacher for next school year (if determined), the Early Childhood Educator and, as appropriate, before/after school care providers.  A transition plan is developed with parental involvement. At this time, a discussion about the IPRC process and a brief explanation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) may occur.

The Halton Catholic District School Board collaborates with ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development/Halton Peel Preschool Speech and Language Program to provide a seamless transition to school. Typically, Kindergarten transition plans include collaboration with pre-school nursery programs, pre-school programs for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Pre-school Speech and Language Program. Halton Region Resource Consultants, private SLPs, and ROCK, are examples of other community supports families are typically involved with who can offer information that can assist with a student’s transition to the school setting.


School-to-School

Many students change schools, whether because of program considerations or relocation of their family. Regardless of the reason, or whether the move is within the same school board or to another board, the transition can be made more smoothly with advance planning. Such planning is particularly important where students who have special education needs are concerned. To the extent allowed under applicable legislation including the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and in accordance with The Ontario Student Record (OSR) Guideline (2000), pertinent information about the student should be shared with the receiving school prior to the student’s arrival so that appropriate supports are in place. In planning programs and/or supports for a student with special education needs who is transferring from another board, the new board should use any assessments available from the originating board.

The new school will receive a copy of the student’s IEP, including the transition plan, as part of the student’s Ontario Student Record (OSR). Parents may also provide the school with a copy of the student’s IEP at the time of registration. As described in Part E of this guide, the IEP contains a variety of information (e.g., the student’s exceptionality, relevant medical information, details on special education services, information on the student’s strengths and needs, a record of any accommodations needed, a list of any modified and/or alternative learning expectations) that will enable the new school to start planning the student’s program.

Supporting the Transition to/from a Regional Specialized Class within HCDSB

HCDSB develops a student-specific plan to facilitate the process to/from a specialized class.  This plan is a consultative process that involves the staff and parent(s). The process considers the student’s exceptionality, his/her social-emotional needs, etc.

Through the process of transitioning into a specialized class, parent(s) are invited to attend an Open House at the respective schools. In cases where grade 8 students are transitioning into Life Skills classrooms in secondary schools, transition visits are scheduled for the students to visit and tour the secondary school, meet the staff and be presented with important school-related information.

When a student is transitioning out from a specialized class and returning to his/her homeschool classroom, a consultative process involving both staff from the specialized class, and the homeschool determines the need, and supports the transition plan. In addition to the transition meeting, a regional IPRC is convened whenever a student transitions to/from a placement in a specialized class. The transition meeting and IPRC may occur back-to-back to support parent’s schedules but are separate and distinct processes.


Elementary to Secondary School

Supporting the Transition from Elementary to Secondary

In accordance with Regulation 181/98 and Policy Program Memorandum 156, a transition plan is developed for all students who are identified as Exceptional under the Education Act. Each student’s All About Me Portfolio and Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) should be referenced to support the transition process throughout the school year and ongoing from year to year.

Planning for the transition to secondary school begins when a student enters the junior division. School teams and parents will begin to discuss secondary pathways as part of the administration and student participation in the Junior Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Assessment. Students who plan to work towards earning credits in secondary school are strongly encouraged to complete the EQAO Junior Assessment in grade 6.

Students with Special Needs who are working on Alternative Programs

Parents of students who are working on completely alternative curriculum will be introduced to the family resource titled, HCDSB Family Transition Guide . This resource provides a guide to the processes and partnerships involved in successful transition planning. It is intended to assist parents in delineating and working towards a particular “destination pathway” for their child on alternative curriculum.  As family, school and community agencies work together to program for a child with special education needs, reference to this resource will be helpful in outlining five possible post-21 years of age destinations in the Halton community and the support level associated with each destination.

Post – Secondary Destination PathwaySupport Levels
 Pathway 1:   Support at Home  Approximate support ratio 1:1or more – 1:5 Respite and community supports provide 24/7 support.   Respite/Community Participation Supports  (passport funding)      
 Pathway 2: Community Involvement  Varies depending on the nature of community involvement. Respite/Community Participation Supports  (passport funding)  
 Pathway 3:   Day Programs Level One         Level Two           Approximate support ratio 1:5 1:8 Respite/Community Participation Supports (passport funding)   Approximate support ratio 1:8-1:16 Respite/Community Participation Supports (passport funding)
Pathway 4: Employment  Community Participation Supports (Passport funding) Employment Supports  
 Pathway 5:   College and Continuing Education ProgramCommunity Participation Supports (Passport funding) Employment Supports  

Students with Special Education Needs who are accessing the Ontario Curriculum

Planning for the transition to secondary school continues throughout grade 7 and grade 8 as students are introduced to possible secondary pathways through the completion of the Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) using My BluePrint. This support is provided through the Student Success Pathways Itinerants and Guidance Department from each HCDSB secondary school. Information is also provided to students about the various programs offered in our board and students are invited to attend the different transition activities and information evenings that are occurring at their home school as well as the school that provides a program of interest.

Starting as early as November in the grade 8 year and prior to the option sheet deadline, the elementary school team including the principal, classroom teacher, Special Education Resource Teacher, the Secondary Department Head and Parents are invited to participate in Transition Plan meetings. At this time, the student’s IPP, option sheet recommendations, accommodations and other questions and concerns are reviewed and addressed. Through collaboration, an individual transition plan is developed for each student with special education needs. As required, other support staff may participate in the transition planning process and the implementation of the transition plan (e.g. CYC, Social Worker, Pathways Itinerants etc.).


School to Post-Secondary Activities (Work, Education or Community Living)

Supporting the Post-Secondary Transition

As outlined above, transition planning for post-secondary transition may begin as early as grade 6 for students accessing completely alternative curriculum.

For students accessing the Ontario Curriculum, transition planning for post-secondary typically includes accessing information about post-secondary institutions, their course/program offerings and their admission requirements.  The Guidance Department in conjunction with Special Education Department can support students with special education needs who are investigating this information.


Transition To School Following A Prolonged Medical Absence Or To And/Or From Education & Community Partnership Programs

Prolonged Medical Absence:

When a student is ready to return to school after a long medical absence, advance preparation with staff and other students could be helpful in enhancing awareness of and sensitivity to the student’s needs, depending on the student’s medical condition. It is essential to discuss the transition with parents and, after proper consent is obtained, with medical personnel who have been involved with the student. In addition, organizations that support persons with specific medical conditions may be able to provide useful in-service training for teachers and other school staff.

To and/or From Education & Community Partnership Programs:

For students who are transitioning to and/or from CTCC educational programs, school board and facility staff should make every effort to ensure that these students receive continuous programs and services with a minimum of disruption. At each stage, transition plans are to be developed and monitored by the students’ teams, which may include but are not limited to parents, students (where appropriate), educators, facility staff, and community service partners, to address the students’ strengths, interests, and needs and to support a seamless transition into and/or out of the CTCC educational program.