All children do not learn at the same rate or in the same manner. There are children who are above average and can benefit from enrichment of their program. Others may need some assistance perhaps as illness, or a transfer from another school, is difficult for them.
It is always a concern for parents – regardless of the reasons for extra assistance- that their child will receive the best education possible. It is sometimes difficult to know what you can expect in these areas, and even what questions should be asked.
With that in mind, Mr. G Miller has provided an in depth look at the services that the Resource Dept can offer.
More about resource:
Parents and educators share a common goal – to ensure that all children benefit from an educational experience that includes quality learning opportunities and expectations that accommodate each child’s individual needs.
PHILOSOPHY OF SPECIAL EDUCATION/RESOURCE SUPPORT:
It is the philosophy of Opaskwyayak Educational Authority that the majority of the community’s special needs students can be supported through differentiated, adapted, and modified or enriched regular school programs. Within the capacity of their resources, Joe A. Ross School and Oscar Lathlin Collegiate will make every effort to provide a continuum of inclusive services that are appropriate, goal directed, and developed through comprehensive team consultation and collaboration.
It is important to note that not all students will require ongoing special assistance. Children learn at different rates, and slight learning delays can often be corrected with tutoring or interim support from a reading specialist or educational assistant. Gifted children can also benefit from appropriate input from Resource, and a number of strategies are implemented to meet their diverse needs.
Following the philosophy of Special Education in Manitoba, it is also recognized that the needs of students vary. As required, physical and human resources and programming will be made available to allow students an equal opportunity to explore their own capabilities within the most enabling learning environments.
Joe A Ross School and Oscar Lathlin Collegiate special needs students are entitled to:
Access to barrier-free schooling
Identification and education based on strengths and needs, not labels
Placement in a an inclusive/enabling learning environment
Team planning and full-service support
OEA believes that all the students from OCN have the right to be educated in their home community. Pupils with challenges are integrated into the classroom as valued classroom members, with an emphasis on participation, not placement. For the vast majority of students with special needs, team planning with appropriate provision of human and technical/material resources will allow optimal inclusion within the regular classroom setting, and as required, the most enabling, least restrictive learning environment.
Inclusion has benefits. It provides for optimal development for students. Students and staff recognize, understand, and appreciate that all students are unique and need individualized attention.
A continuum of placements and a variety of supports are provided. We do not see the student as a problem, but try to understand, and correct, how school is a problem for the student.
The Student Support Team:
At Joe A. Ross School and Oscar Lathlin Collegiate, we have a student support team that works hard to meet the diverse needs of students from K-12.
Team members include:
1 Special Education Coordinator/Grade K-6 Resource Teacher,
1 Grade 7-12 Resource Teacher,
Educational Assistant Team
2. Counselling Department:
1. Career Guidance Counselor
2. School Therapist.
3. Reading recovery Teacher
4. Discipline, Home-School, and Truancy Officers
5. External/Contracted Support – Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and other contracted clinicians and educational specialists
How do we work together as a team?
1. The challenge is identified – learning, instructional, environmental, behavioral, etc. (By the teacher, EA, parent, counselor, etc.)
2. A referral is made to the Resource Dept/Student Support Team. The resource teacher or specific team member calls a team meeting.
3. A student profile is developed (strengths, interests, needs, etc.) Assessments may be needed.
4. The challenges are defined “Where are we now?”
5. The team discusses and selects preferred outcomes. “Where would we like to be a year from now?”
6. Interventions, including activities, materials etc. are identified to make the outcomes a reality. “How are we going to get there?”
7. Formal documentation is provided in the form of an Individual Education Plan (IEP), Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP), Accommodation Plan etc.
8. As needed, additional human and/or material supports and resources are put in place.
9. Then, we make it happen! Interventions/student support activities are implemented by school staff and external team members as needed.
10. Support programs are monitored, reviewed and revised.
The keys to effective student placement and support are:
1. Parent/caregiver participation in the planning and support process.
2. Matching students, teachers, and support staff.
3. Student engagement in the planning and support process.
4. Provision of necessary resources
When necessary, we network with others who can provide comprehensive support.
Joe A. Ross School and Oscar Lathlin Collegiate collaborate with a variety of agencies, including OCN health, the Norman RHA, CFS, and local and provincial specialists, such as family doctors, pediatricians, psychologists, and educational consultants (MFNERC/ MB Education).
Occupational and physiotherapists provide on-site assessments, recommendations and consultative support.
Child and Family Caring Agencies work with student support team members to ensure programs meet diverse student needs.
Mental Health workers provide counselling support for students and caregivers, and offer programming advice for the student support team.
OCN, MB Employment and Training, and local businesses provide supported employment opportunities for students, and partner with the student support team to meet a variety of individual needs.
The Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and Manitoba Education provide consultative support for specific teaching, learning, and resource needs.
It is our belief that caregivers know their children better than anybody else. Working together, we can create programs to assist each child in the most positive way. We welcome visits and calls from parents, and are happy to set up appointments with caregivers to discuss their children’s needs.
Text by: G. Miller, Resource Dept.