BC’s Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines states that “all students should have equitable access to learning, opportunities for achievement, and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their educational programs” (2013). As such, Cedars’ Educational Support Services (Learning Services) program is primarily an inclusive program, endeavouring to create a supportive learning environment in which all students are integrated into classrooms to the greatest extent possible. This does not, however, preclude the appropriate use of resource rooms, self-contained classes, community-based programs, or specialized settings.
In order to meet the needs of students, Cedars provides high quality classroom instruction, employs Educational Assistants (EAs) where necessary, and consults with community-based professionals, including:
- Speech and language therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Teachers of the visually impaired
- Psychologists and Counsellors
The Learning Assistance Program at Cedars is designed to work together with teachers, coming alongside students who need additional support, with the aim of helping them find success in school.
In Elementary school, students are regularly assessed by classroom teachers to monitor their academic progress. When it is apparent that a student is experiencing difficulties, and regular supports and differentiated instruction from a classroom teacher have not been enough to address the needs of the student, a student will be referred for Learning Assistance. Parents will be notified when it is apparent that a student is struggling academically, and will be involved and aware of the referral process.
This assistance may be provided in-class or in the Learning Assistance Centre.
We also meet as a School Based Resource Team (SBRT) to provide support and recommendations for the classroom teachers. The SBRT may include: Learning Assistance teacher, Speech and Language Pathologist, School Psychologist, Classroom Teacher, Learning Support Coordinator, Principal and Vice-Principal. Students receiving Learning Support will have a Learning Support Plan to help the teachers with implementing ways to assist that child in the classroom.
In High School, students who qualify may have a learning assistance block (support block) in their timetable. Educational Assistants lead these blocks and help students maximize their opportunities to learn. Students are given support in organization, study skills, assignment completion and test preparation. Additional support and remediation is provided, as needed, for those who require more intensive intervention. Specialists, such as the Speech & Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist, are employed for those with more severe educational impacts.
Admissions Procedure for Students with Special Needs
General admissions procedures involve family tours of the facility, the completion of an application package, and an admissions interview. If, at any point in this process, it is deemed possible that a student may require educational support services (learning assistance, special education, enrichment, etc.), the following documents may be required prior to admissions approval:
- Copies of all current / relevant student assessments
- Copy of students’ Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
- Most recent report cards
If student assessments, IEPs, or report cards are not available or out of date, Cedars’ Educational Support Services Coordinator (ESSC) will meet with parents to discuss assessments that are required. The cost of these assessments will be the responsibility of the parents. In this meeting, the ESSC will determine the type and level of service, equipment, and facilities which would be necessary to support the student’s program.
Following this meeting and review of relevant documents, the ESSC makes recommendations to the administration for admission. In general, acceptance will be based on Special Education funding, the availability of necessary support services, and the school’s confidence that it can serve the student needs adequately.