The WCDSB’s vision of “Our Catholic Schools: Heart of the Community – Success for Each, A Place for All” is rooted in our beliefs and actions and comes to life via our collective efforts to empower and engage students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) to reach their full potential. WCDSB staff are continuously engaged in learning communities contributing to collective efficacy, ensuring we effectively meet the needs of all learners (e.g., professional ‘learning for all’ teacher portal, behaviour modules on-line series, etc.).
Staff professional learning is rooted in evidence-based research, suggesting that when strategies are implemented, student achievement outcomes are increased. Teacher professional learning for meeting the needs of students with special needs is rooted in continuing to foster a system of inclusion that nurtures the whole student, ensuring wellness across their development; spiritually as well as academically. During the 2016-17 school year, meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities has been a focus for professional development for our WCDSB staff. Our Student Services department, in collaboration with the Program Services department, strives to provide timely learning opportunities across a wide range of audiences, based on feedback gathered through surveys, data collection and audits. During the 2016-17 school year, various in-services were held for educators:
- Empower Training: Spelling and Decoding Program for new Special Education Teachers
- Transition to Schools Meeting – Community Collaboration with the Health Unit
- Math – Number Strings and Number Talks
- Zones of Regulation and the IEP in Collaboration with Autism Support Facilitator
- Lexia Training Day
- LMS Math and the LD Learner
- Skill Builders Training for Classroom Teachers
- Augmentative Communication
- IEP Moderation and the LD Learner
- Creating Alternative Curriculum Using the HELP Assessment
- Executive Functioning Skills
- Making Community Connections
Our teachers have a deep understanding of the learner and can implement precise programming for students at the day to day level. Report card data in both Literacy and Numeracy show an upwards trend of students with an IEP that are achieving at provincial standard over the last five years.
Credit Accumulation is a significant indicator for graduation success for students. There is no significant difference between credit accumulation in English, whereas there is a slightly lower proportion of students with an IEP not achieving their Grade 10 Math credit at both the Academic and Applied levels. Graduation rates are calculated for all students earning an OSSD in 4-year or 5-year cohorts. Graduation rates for students with an IEP are mirroring the graduation rates for students without an IEP — with the exception of the last cohort of student with IEPs.
Finally, we are very proud of our Ministry of Education Learning Disabilities Pilot, implemented during the 2016-17 school year – and were honoured to host the Minister of Education at St. Joseph CES to see the pilot in action. The project’s focus on Empower, technology, student engagement and social emotional literacy has led to increased student achievement.