2017 Annual Report

 Specialized Services and Safe and Accepting Schools

Our Values

A welcoming environment in our schools is important for all students. To achieve an equitable and inclusive school environment, the school board and schools strive to ensure that all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. We want all staff and students to value diversity and demonstrate respect for others and a commitment to establishing a just, caring society. There are many things we do to offer a supportive, welcoming, and safe environment for all students. It begins with creating awareness amongst staff and students, working from a vision of providing quality, inclusive learning environments for all students. Supporting the body, mind, spirit, and emotions of an individual increases a sense of well-being, connectedness and resilience, and improves student achievement. This Feed All Four way of being applies to all students and is incorporated into all aspects of Positive Space in Trillium Lakelands District School Board schools.

Our special education services range from accommodating children in the regular classroom to supplying intensive individual support. In addition to helping our exceptional pupils, we offer a variety of student services programs, designed to help each child reach his or her potential. The education and welfare of students is a joint effort between school and home. Our programs are effective because we combine the support of parents with the excellent resources of our school and community.

 Spotlight – A Focus on Knowing our Students

Key Initiatives

Professional Learning – TLDSB supports staff development to build capacity to optimize outcomes for students with special needs. This is achieved by supporting  professional learning to foster ongoing improvement of practice. Professional learning opportunities are provided through input from principals, feedback from parents, responses from staff surveys, data from Ministry of Education initiatives, as well as feedback from health and safety issues.

Specifically, a Learning Disabilities (LD) presentation was given to Instructional Leads, French Immersion teachers, and Math Leads on “What is LD?”; an Adobe session for all elementary staff was held with a focus on working memory as applied to Math with strategies for LD students; and School-based learning was provided for staff to support students with learning disabilities.

Assistive Technology Training – Assistive technology has been available to students with special needs for a number of years. There is always concern around possible stigma and lack of understanding that may arise when students use specialized equipment. Devices such as iPads and apps are assistive technology tools, and training ensures they are being used and embedded in classroom instruction. The focus for this initiative has been on iPad training for students in grades 5 to 8 and the transition for students moving to high school. Teachers and students working and learning together helps to increase awareness and knowledge around assistive tools. This approach has helped students with special needs gain their own expertise and has increased interest in learning. By working together, teachers and students build trusting relationships which encourage students to take more risks and try new things – gaining increased confidence along the way.

Special Olympics –  Each year, TLDSB’s District Special Olympics promote understanding, acceptance, and inclusion among people with and without intellectual disabilities. This is a fabulous event that unleashes the power of the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports. As a board we are providing opportunities and helping fight the intolerance, injustice, inactivity and social isolation faced by many persons with disabilities.

Mindful Martial Arts – The MMA program in TLDSB is an innovative, evidence-based mindfulness training program as a means of addressing self-regulation challenges in students with learning disabilities (LDs). Through the the Integra Mindfulness Martial Arts program, an evidence-based intervention to support the mental health and well-being of students with learning disabilities. Educators in the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) are implementing this into the Learning Strategies course within secondary schools, with plans for expansion at the elementary level.

Building Supportive Cultures and Communities Through Our Schools

 Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Programming for Students With Special Needs

Specialized Services Staff Numbers

TLDSB received specialized funding for increased support to students, with 5 additional Student Services Attendance Counsellors, 5 additional Educational Assistants for Behaviour/Autism support, and 3 Itinerant Teachers for Behaviour/Autism support being added to the roster.

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Itinerant Educational Assistants for Behaviour/Autism Support
0
3 Itinerant Educational Assistants for Assistive Technology
0
3 Itinerant Teachers for Behaviour/Autism support
0
2 Itinerant Teachers for Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Blind/Low vision
0
Psychoeducational Consultants
0
Speech Language Pathologists
0
Student Services Attendance Counsellors
0
Support Staff
0
Consultants
0
Executive Assistant

Highlights

Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression and bullying among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. This program is currently taking place in 33 TLDSB schools. Eleven new instructors were trained in the fall of 2017.

The focus of Roots of Empathy in the long term is to build capacity of the next generation for responsible citizenship and responsive parenting. In the short term, Roots of Empathy focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression. Part of its success is the universal nature of the program; all students are positively engaged instead of targeting bullies or aggressive children.

Integra Young Warriors

Integra Young Warriors is a program offered in our schools to support student skill building in multiple areas of social emotional learning. It is a program focused on delivering an evidence-informed practice that integrates elements of mindfulness, collaborative problem-solving, dialectical behavior therapy, attachment theory and drama therapy with Aikido (the peaceful martial art) and yoga to help children learn critical self-regulation life skills.

Five TLDSB schools ran the program in winter and spring of 2017, and 11 additional schools are participating in the 2017-18 school year, for a total of 13 schools. An additional 15 staff members and three community partners have recently been trained to join the existing team of 8 TLDSB leaders and 6 community partner leaders.

Other Stats

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Schools that participate in use of Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) with students to proactively problem solve situations and address lagging skills.
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16 new-to-role Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) provided with training. Each new SERT is paired with a mentor to support their professional learning.

Stronger as a Community

TLDSB has over 40 established partnerships with community agencies and organizations, providing programs and services to students in our schools.