The Fort Vermilion School Division is committed to supporting all students in attaining the goals contained in the Ministerial Order on Student Learning. All students will have access to meaningful and relevant learning experiences within welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. We strive to ensure that all students are accepted and have a sense of belonging within their classrooms and school community.
Today’s classrooms are made up of a range of diverse learners. In an inclusive education system, all learners and their unique needs are taken into consideration when planning for instruction. Some learners, however, require more specific supports and services than others. These learners, identified below as students with diverse learning needs, include those with mild, moderate or severe needs and gifted and talented students who have been identified with a Special Education code as well as those who are functioning below grade level and those who are experiencing challenges in the classroom or school due to a number of possible reasons, including behavioural factors.
- Each school shall include students with diverse learning needs in the regular classroom wherever possible and establish appropriate supports and services based upon the academic, physical, medical, emotional and social needs of the individual students.
- Each school shall establish appropriate supports and services to meet the diverse learning needs of students based upon the following:
- The academic, physical, medical, hearing, vision, emotional, behavioural and/or social needs of the students
- The number of students requiring a specific program or service
- The availability of appropriate facilities
- The availability of appropriately qualified staff
- Program costs
- School and division budgets
- Other factors significant to a specific program or service
- Diverse learning needs of students will be identified through individual assessment, classroom observation and parental/guardian input. Assessment can include classroom/school based and specialized assessments.
- Teacher(s), in consultation with and approval of the parent/guardian, will develop Individualized Program Plans for students with diverse learning needs.
- At minimum, all students identified with a Special Education code (severe/mild/moderate/ gifted) as well as those who do not have a Special Education code but who are functioning well below grade level and for whom program modifications and/or accommodations are in place must have an Individualized Program Plan. See FVSD Appendices for a list of current Special Education Codes.
- Students with significant diverse learning needs will be referred through the Inclusive Education Coordinator at the school for specialized assessment. This includes school-level assessments such as the Woodcock Johnson achievement and oral language tests as well as specialized assessments such as psycho-educational assessments, speech and language assessments, physical therapy assessments, and occupational therapy assessments among others.
- All referrals for specialized assessment must have parental/guardian consent.
- Appropriate personnel will inform parents/guardians of assessment results and recommendations.
- Written parental/guardian permission is required before a student is placed on an Individualized Program Plan or in a specialized program, and parents/guardians will be informed of any program change.
- Programming supports and services will be based on classroom, school based and standardized assessment data, as well as specialized assessments administered at the school level or by a qualified specialist(s) where applicable.
- The classroom teacher(s), along with appropriate personnel including parents/guardians, will develop, implement, monitor and evaluate the Individualized Program Plan for each student with diverse learning needs. This plan will be developed collaboratively with, reviewed and signed by the members of the student’s Learning Team, including the parents/guardians. Preferably, these discussions will take place in a wraparound meeting involving parents/guardians and all involved school staff.
- Individualized Program Plans will be developed within a reasonable length of time. See FVSD Appendices for the Developing and Updating the IPP Process and Protocol.
- Student progress will be regularly evaluated in terms of stated goals, objectives, strategies and accommodations and reported to parents. At minimum, the IPP will be reviewed with the student’s Learning Team, including parents/guardians, two times per year/course; i.e. when the IPP is developed, as well as at the end of the year/course. School staff will update the IPP at minimum one additional time in the year, most often at the mid-year point.
- IPPs will be uploaded to the Admin Centre by the specified dates in the fall and spring of each year.
- All students identified with a behavioural need (codes 42 and 53 among others where behaviour is a factor) must have a behaviour plan which is to be uploaded to the Admin Centre as part of the IPP by the specified date each fall. Behaviour plans will be reviewed and updated throughout the year as needed to effectively support and manage the student’s behaviour.
- Reporting: Schools will upload an annual FVSD Inclusive Education Report to the Admin Centre by the specified date each fall.
- Support services are available to assist with the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all programming for students with diverse learning needs.
Student Acceleration: Students are expected to progress through the grades at a typical rate of one grade level per year. No student will be placed in a grade or course beyond the next logical level without the permission of the Assistant Superintendent of Learning. Schools are advised to contact the Assistant Superintendent of Learning when the possibility of accelerating a student is first considered.
Funding for students with disabilities (severe, mild, moderate and gifted) is included within the jurisdiction’s Inclusive Education funding allocation.
- Although Inclusive Education funding is no longer determined by the jurisdictional severe disabilities profile, it is still necessary for students to be identified on the September 30 submission as having exceptional (severe/mild/ moderate/gifted) education needs. See the most recent Alberta Education Handbook for the Identification and Review of Students with Severe Disabilities and the Special Education Coding Criteria for category descriptions, available on the Alberta Education Extranet.
- Students identified as having Mild, Moderate or Severe Needs must have medical, physical, psychological or other specialized assessments on file to substantiate the specific need(s) as well as a current Individualized Program Plan that has been signed by the members of the student’s Learning Team, including the parents/guardians. The IPP must be a “living document”; i.e. there must be evidence that it is being implemented, regularly reviewed and updated.
Funding is provided by the jurisdiction to assist schools in providing educational support services for students with significant diverse learning needs. Most often, this takes the form of educational assistance for students with severe disabilities, as well as specialized assessment, consultation, ongoing therapy and support services, and occasionally specialized equipment. Specialized equipment remains the property of Fort Vermilion School Division and may be moved from school to school, depending on need.
- Psycho-Educational Assessment services are available from contracted and divisional psychologists. Referral access is through the Inclusive Education Coordinator at the school who has the necessary referral forms. Final approval for referrals for psycho-educational assessment is the responsibility of the Assistant Superintendent of Learning.
- Some students are eligible to access services from the multi-disciplinary team available through Northern Lights Regional Collaborative Service Delivery. This team provides coordinated assessment and consultation services in the following disciplines: psychology, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, educational programming, as well as services for the deaf/hard of hearing and the blind/visually impaired. Referral access is through the Inclusive Education Coordinator at the school who has the necessary referral forms.
- There is no school cost for the above-mentioned services.
Support resources are re-allocated each year based on documented student need. Support ceases when the child/student no longer attends school or no longer requires specialized supports and/or services.
Two Diverse Learning Coordinators are available to assist teachers in understanding students and developing plans to meet the needs of the students within their classrooms.