Qualicum School District is committed to providing inclusive opportunities for all of our learners. We believe all students should be educated in regular classrooms and in age-appropriate settings as much as possible. We strive to provide support within the classroom environment whenever possible, including curricular adaptations, classroom accommodations, and other supports to meet the needs of individual learners. Small group and individual support is provided for students who are not able to have their learning needs fully met in a classroom environment.
The Learning Support staff in our district believes that "Our purpose is to build collaborative, personalized, inclusive learning communities that will develop resilient students who are contributing members of an increasingly diverse society."
Students are supported through a variety of school-based and district-wide programs and services. The Learning Services teachers, along with their administrators and other professionals such as our Speech-Language Pathologists, School Counsellors, and the District Psychologist work as a School Based Team to coordinate supports and assessments for the learners in their schools.
Funding for Learning Support programs is provided to the district in a lump sum. This funding covers all aspects of Learning Support, including support teachers and other specialists, educational assistants, learning resources, equipment, etc. Designation in a particular special needs category does not lead to a specific entitlement to a certain type or amount of service. Rather, Qualicum School District uses a holistic model, and allocates resources based on the level of student need, regardless of designation.
Learning Services Teachers
Specialist teachers work in each school to support the teaching and learning of all students. They work alongside classroom teachers to coordinate adaptations and interventions to the full range of students with learning and/or behavioural needs. Their role includes:
- Assisting teachers in providing adaptations and accommodations in the classroom setting
- Assisting classroom teachers in assessing learning, including standardized achievement testing
- Facilitating the implementation of curriculum for students with special learning needs
- Supporting educational assistants with developing materials and skills to differentiate instruction
- Providing direct instruction to students in whole class, small-group, and individual settings
- Developing IEPS and Functional Behaviour Assessments to support student learning
Each school has a counselor who provides consultation and
counseling services for students with academic, social, emotional, behavioural
or mental health concerns. Their primary goal is to help students experience
success in the school setting. Where more intensive, ongoing therapy is
required by a student, our counselors facilitate referrals to outside counseling
agencies and other specialist personnel. At the secondary schools, counselors
also provide support with educational planning and career counselling.
Educational Assistants (EAs) work under the direction of a Learning Services or classroom teacher to support the curriculum differentiation for individual and small groups of learners. Some EAs have additional training and skills in the areas such as: Autism, Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) or Sign Language.
EAs are assigned to schools at the beginning of each school year, based on the type and level of support required by the learners in the school. Except for EAs supporting students with ABA programs or those who have particularly complex medical needs, the EAs are assigned to learning environments, and will work with a variety of learners in those spaces.
Child and Youth Care Workers
The Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCW) support staff in our district work alongside school teams to provide small group and individual support with students' social and emotional health. They facilitate friendship groups, offer support with academics and self-regulation for many of our vulnerable learners.
District-based services are accessed through the School-Based Team at your child's school.
School Psychology Services - Our district psychologist provides consultation and support for students with diverse learning needs. Students are referred for assessments by their School Based Teams. After an assessment has been completed on an individual student, our psychologist will collaborate with the student's family and the school team to make recommendations for appropriate programming and interventions for that student.
Speech and Language Services - The Speech-Language Pathologists (S-LPs) provide assessment, consultation and direct therapy for students who have challenges with speech, and receptive or expressive language challenges. They also support Augmentative and Alternative Communication support for students who need significant assistance to communicate.
Hearing and Vision Services - The district has both a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, and a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. These teachers provide direct support for students who have been diagnosed with a vision or hearing loss, as well as providing consultation and support for the classroom and learning services teachers at the school. They also support the student with accessing services through provincial programs, and facilitate the loan of specialized equipment and learning resources.
Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Services - Our physical therapist and occupational therapist support schools by providing screening, assessment, program planning, equipment selection/adaptation and consultation for school teams. They will help design routines and structures for students who require support with daily physical therapy work or self-regulation. They also work alongside school teams and families to facilitate referrals to outside therapists where a student requires more intensive interventions.
Homebound/Outreach Services - Our Homebound/Outreach teacher coordinates at-home tutoring services for students who are confined to home or hospital. This teacher works closely with classroom teachers, medical personnel and parents to assist students with continuing their studies while they are unable to attend their home school. This service can be accessed through your school principal.
District Principal, Learning Support