SPECIAL EDUCATION POLICY
Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Academy

All students at Gaglardi Academy will have equal access to learning, opportunities for achievement, and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their educational programs.

Gaglardi Academy believes it is necessary to have instructional programs and services that address widely varying needs and learning styles of individual students. In short, our school values the diversity of all God's children who are made unique with the desire to learn.

Rationale

  • The leadership of Gaglardi Academy including the School Board, Director/principal, and learning support teacher strives to ensure a school culture that is loving, safe, healthy and inclusive of all children including the opportunity for a quality education for children with special needs.
  • The leadership of Gaglardi Academy (School Board, and Director/principal) and the support of all faculty are essential to the successful implementation of quality educational programs. Successful programs are based on need, in the best interest of the child, and are instructionally effective.
  • Inclusion benefits all students: those without learning challenges learn to understand and empathize; and those with learning needs experience success and maximize their social, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being.

Enrolment/Placement of Children with Special Needs

  1. Gaglardi Academy will assess individual applications for admission of all children with special needs on a case-by-case basis. The School Director will have the final approval of the admittance of children with special needs. The criteria used as a basis for School Director approval will include, but not limited to the following:
    • Balanced classroom size for all learners.
    • Financial resources necessary to support the child’s learning with special needs.
    • The school's ability (facility or staff qualifications) to meet the individual child's needs including academic, social, and spiritual needs.
    • The school's ability to ensure the quality of education for the child with special needs.
  2. Gaglardi Academy will consult with parents of a child who has special needs, including a signed permission form, before placing the student in a “special” educational program. Whenever possible, children will be integrated in regular classrooms with other regular students. If the educational needs of a student with special needs indicate that the educational program is best implemented outside the classroom accommodations will be provided. An example is therapeutic riding which is a program offered outside of the school community. The emphasis on educating students with special needs in classrooms with their age-and- stage peers, however, does not preclude the appropriate use of resource rooms, self-contained classes, specialized professional services, community-based programs, or other specialized settings.

Inclusion

Gaglardi Academy promotes an inclusive education system in which children with either low-incident or high-incidents special needs fully participate in our school community. The practice of inclusion at Gaglardi does not always mean 100% integration in regular classrooms and goes beyond placement to include meaningful participation in other programs (ie therapeutic riding, Sensory Room) and the promotion of interaction with others. (ie social thinking programs). Some of the ways Gaglardi will foster the inclusion of special needs children include the following:

  • Targeted support in literacy or numeracy or both.
  • open access to all areas of school community activities including field trips, extra-curricular activities, fun days, sports days.
  • All school awareness programs to promote understanding and break down barriers (ie social thinking)
  • Adaptations to some policies to help children with special needs be successful.

Delivery Systems

Gaglardi Academy will use a variety of delivery systems to meet the needs of all (low or high incidence) children with special needs or learning differences. Gaglardi Academy defines children with “special needs” as any child who requires support “outside the box” of a steady, self-directed learner and could include giftedness, spectrum disorders, behaviour, or low performance in one or more subject areas.

Gaglardi will use a combination of:

  • Integration in the classroom and providing learners with one-on-one or small group support, accommodations, adaptations or modifications.
  • 2. Resource room with learning support teacher with one-on-one or small group support.
  • 3. Pull-outs with EA's to reinforce learning.
  • 4. Literacy and Numeracy groups.
  • 5. Community-based training (eg Therapeutic Riding).

Determining the level of accommodations

The pyscho-educational assessment is reviewed thoroughly by the IEP coordinator in order to determine which of the following level of support the student meets. The Ministry of Education sets the parameters for the different levels of support. Based on these parameters, students are assigned to the following four levels.

Level 1 – The psycho-educational assessment and physical disability reveals that the student has significant areas of weakness or deficits that require addressing beyond the differentiated instruction that already occurs in the classroom. Level 1 usually requires a full-time EA with special qualifications.

Level 2 – The psycho-educational assessment reveals that the student has some significant areas of needs that should be articulated to teachers and requires significant support in the classroom to ensure learning success. In most cases, the learner’s designation is Ministry Category D or G and meets the criteria as identified in the DSM-IV or DSM-V diagnostic manual.

Level 3 – The psycho-educational assessment reveals significant deficits (social, emotional or educational) that require accommodations in the classroom, or support services (OT, SLP, Counselling) to be either successful at school or supported in their wellness.

Level 4 – The psycho-educational assessment reveals a diagnosis of a specific learning disability and related challenges requiring accommodations in the classroom. Students qualify for a BC Ministry of Education designation in category “Q”.

Planning

1. Individual Education Plan (IEP)

  • An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed for each student that has been identified as having a designated (low-incidence) special learning need. The only instances in which an IEP is not required is when child with a designated special need;
    • requires little or no adaptations to materials, instruction or assessment methods; or
    • has no psycho-educational assessment.
    • the expected learning outcomes have not been adapted; or
    • the student requires 25 or fewer hours of remedial instruction by someone other than the classroom teacher, in a school year.
  • Comprehensive IEP's are written during the first month of each new school year with input from the students resource team. The students resource team includes: learning resource teacher, classroom teacher, EA, principal and parent/guardian. IEP's are drafted by the learning resource teacher then are reviewed by the resource team a minimum of 3 times per school year and revised when necessary.
  • Once established, IEP's are incorporated in classroom settings and regularly monitored by the classroom teacher, EA and learning support teacher.

2. Learning Support Plan (LSP)

  • A Learning Support Plan (LSP) is developed for each student that has been identified as having an “undesignated” high-incidence special learning need. The purpose of the LSP is the support targeted areas of concern whether academic or social.
  • LSP’s are written by the end of the first month of each new school year with input from the student's resource team. The student's resource team includes: learning resource teacher, classroom teacher, EA, and principal. LSP's are drafted by the learning resource teacher and then are reviewed by the resource team a once per school year and revised when necessary.
  • Once established, LSP’s are incorporated in classroom settings and regularly monitored by the classroom teacher, EA and learning support teacher.

Evaluation and Reporting

Standards for all students, including students with special needs, are developed with high but appropriate expectations for student achievement. Students with special needs are expected to achieve some, most, or all provincial curriculum outcomes with special support.

Where a student with special needs is expected to achieve or surpass the learning outcomes, performance scales, letter grades and regular reporting procedures will be used to indicate progress. Where it is determined that a student with special needs is not capable of achieving the learning outcomes of provincial or Board Authority Authorized curriculum, and substantial course or program adaptation is necessary, specific individual goals and objectives will be established for the student in their IEP or LSP. The student will transition to a modified program. Performance scales, letter grades, and structured written comments may be used to report the level of the student’s success in achieving these modified goals and objectives. It may not be appropriate to provide letter grades to all students with special needs.

Considering the potential impact on the student, not providing letter grades should be a decision made by the student's school-based team. Where a professional support person other than the classroom teacher is responsible
for providing some portion of the student's educational program, that person should provide written reports on the student's progress for inclusion with the report of the classroom teacher (ie SLP, OT reports).

Appeals

  • Refer to Gaglardi Academy Appeals Policy

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Students:
    • Have the opportunity to avail themselves of a quality education consistent with their abilities.
    • Try their best work to reach full their full potential.
    • Take responsibility for their own learning.
  2. Parents/guardians:
    • have the opportunity and responsibility to participate in the process of determining the educational goals and services provided to their children by attending IEP/LSP planning meetings.
    • Parents/guardians are encouraged to support IEP/LSP learning goals in the home setting.
    • Communicate relevant information to the Learning Support Teacher (ie medication changes, new team members etc.)
  3. Teachers:
    • Teachers are responsible for :
      • Designing, supervising and assessing educational programs
      • Providing instruction to students
      • Adapting materials to address students' needs.
      • Determining effective teaching strategies and practices.
      • Determining methods of evaluating progress and reporting achievement.
  4. Educational Assistants (EA's):
    • Educational Assistants are responsible for:
      • under the supervision of the teacher, assist with learning.
      • Oversee personal care of students.
      • Practice skills learned in classroom (and/or provided by the team) during pull-outs. Example SLP or OT programs.
      • Assist with behaviour management.
      • Collect and provide information for evaluating student. progress to classroom teacher and learning support teacher.
  5. Learning Support Teacher:
    • Learning support teachers provide school-based support services designed to support classroom teachers and their students. The learning resource teacher helps to organize, maintain and integrate special learning services in to the school.
    • Learning Support Teachers are responsible for:
      • Collaboration with the student resource team, review of student needs and assist in problem-solving
      • Leading the implementation and writing of school IEP's
      • Assisting classroom teachers with assessment and evaluation of special needs students
      • Assist teachers with planning adaptations for special needs students
      • Providing direct instruction to special needs students as needed
      • Communicating with school faculty and parents
      • Supervising EA support
      • Scheduling EA support
      • Testing as required
  6. Director/Principal:
    • As it relates to children with special needs, the Principal is responsible for:
      • ensuring individualized programs and IEP/LSP’s are implemented.
      • Overseeing the placement of students as recommended by the learning support teacher.
      • Ensuring parents are regularly provided with reports concerning their child's progress.


Special Education Policy, Updated April, 2015
Last Updated August 27, 2019