Biindigen! I offer a warm welcome back to students and their families to another school year from the Special Education Department.
We are committed to a philosophy of integration while providing a range of options to meet the needs of exceptional students. These needs are more easily met this school year with our recently expanded Special Education Department which includes six Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) and twenty-nine Educational Assistants (EAs)!
The Wikwemikong Board of Education believes that all students have the potential to learn and that all students should progress to the best of their ability. We support their progress by offering the following services in our schools:
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech & Language Assessment
- Psychoeducational Assessments
- Behaviour Interventions
Our department works collaboratively with School Health Support Services to offer the above noted services year-round.
Every effort is made to address the needs of students in a regular classroom. Some students will need a variety of program modifications and/or accommodations to their educational program. Other students may require more specialized educational programs and services to meet their educational needs.
I would like to encourage the parents and guardians of our students with exceptionalities to continue with open communication with your student’s teacher, the SERT assigned to their school along with their Principal. I as well welcome the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have.
Miigwech miinwaa baamaapii,
Tracy Cooper, OCT, B.A., B.Ed.
Special Education Coordinator
The WBE utilizes designations consistent with the Ontario Ministry of Education. These designations are decided on at the Individual Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) meeting. The exceptional students may be found to have any one or more of the ministry designations as set out below:
Specific behaviour problems over a period of time and to a marked degree
- Language Impairment
- Speech Impairment
- Learning Disability
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Speech and Language Impairment
- Mild Intellectual Disability
- Developmental Disability
- Physical Disability
- Blind and Low Vision
- The profile of the student does not meet current Ministry of Education and Training definitions of exceptionality.
A combination of learning or other disorders, impairments or physical disabilities
Individual Placement and Review Committee also referred to as the IPRC:
This meeting is held once a student has been assessed by a Speech and Language Therapist, an Educational Psychologist and/or a medical diagnosis and meets one of the Ministry of Education designations of exceptionality. The parent and school team meet to decide on the student’s placement within the school which may be one of the following:
- Regular class with resource support
- Regular class with resource withdrawal
- Partial integration
- Indirect Service
Special Education Team
The in-school special education team addresses student’s needs and challenges, working together in providing the best instructional support and developing creative solutions to address student’s needs within the available resources.
The team includes:
- School principal;
- Special education resource teachers (SERT);
- Classroom teachers;
- Education Assistants (EA)
Resources available to students:
- Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Psychological Educational Assessments
- Counselling services
Individual Education Plans
Individual Education Plans also referred to as the IEP
The Ministry of Education and the Wikwemikong Board of Education require that every student who has been identified as exceptional must have an individual education plan (IEP) which is coordinated by Special Education Resource Teachers. A student who requires special education programs or services to be successful in school, but who has not been identified as exceptional may also have an IEP.
The IEP describes your child’s learning strengths and needs and identifies specific learning goals. It tracks student’s progress towards achieving their goals. Parent and/or guardian input is sought at this stage of IEP development as you have knowledge about your child the school may be unaware of. The level of support for students is indicated in the IEP under the subject area. The IEP also explains the special education services and teaching strategies the school will use to support their learning. In order to customize student’s IEPs, the special education team may gather information from various area such as:
- Parents & Caregivers relating to child’s personality, development, learning and preferences;
- Guidance Counsellors;
- Ontario Student Record (report cards)
- Previous IEPs
- Assessments: Medical, in-school, psychological-educational
- Representatives of community agencies or services
The Wikwemikong Board of Education also encourages student involvement in their educational goals. Students 16 years or older have the right to be consulted in the development and review of their IEPs and are encouraged to attend their IPRC.
Levels of Support for Students
Given the support and tools to assist them in completing grade level work eg. Scribe their answers, more time to complete task, photocopied notes
Changing the number and complexity of grade level material and/or altering grade level subject material to one or more grades below their current grade level eg. Student currently in grade 5, however requires a modified language arts subject at a grade 2 level and rest of the work is at his grade 5 level
Skill areas that are not within the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum eg. Social skills
SERTs are available for parent consultations at their respective schools. Should any parent want additional information on how they can assist their child the SERTs are always willing to answer questions. They are available at parent- teacher nights and school functions. One of the department’s goals is to have that dialogue with parents of exceptional learners. Studies have shown that the parents and guardians who are involved with their child’s education – their children do better in school.
Assessments that are done by the school will have several recommendations. Recommendations will be from any one of the following or a combination from the Speech & Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist, or Educational Psychologist. We encourage parents to take the time to review these documents that have been reviewed with them during a school feedback meeting and/or were mailed. These recommendations are carefully reviewed by the school team and incorporated into the student’s program at school to ensure every child’s success.
IPRC time is an excellent opportunity for parents to meet and discuss with the school team what their child’s needs and strengths are. These are scheduled once a year for exceptional students. Pick up a brochure at your child’s school for more information.
Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
The Wikwemikong Board of Education also formed their own SEAC with community agencies who participate in quarterly meetings. The Ministry of Education requires every school board to establish a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEA) with representatives from local parent associations and other community stakeholders and associations.
To find meeting dates and SEAC members please contact either SERT at their respective schools.
Wikwemikong Junior School SERTs
Alison Biedermann Matt Fowler
Pontiac School SERTs
Melanie Knight Natalie Eshkawkogan
Wikwemikong High School SERTs:
Robin Cooper Cathy Fox