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Katholos - Education for Life For All
Supporting Learners with Diverse Needs
Inclusive education is at the foundation of Edmonton Catholic Schools. As such, inclusive education is the first choice of the district.
"Flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of students
is an important feature of inclusive
education programming. Specific delivery
models for individualized programs
may vary from class to class and
from school to school depending on
the needs of the individual students attending."
What Does Inclusion Look Like in our Schools?
"Children that learn together, learn to live together." Author Unknown
An inclusive school is a setting within which students, staff and parents are a community of learners. Diversity is valued as an opportunity to celebrate each individual’s God given gifts. The district believes in the value of the inclusive approach to education and seeks to highlight the tremendous opportunities for individual growth and social awareness through maintaining diversity in classrooms and school communities. Within the inclusive setting, the focus is on how best to support the gifts and needs of every student so that each feels welcome and is successful to the best of his or her abilities.
Who are Students with Special Education Needs?
"Special education refers to the education of students and ECS children identified with mild, moderate, or severe disabilities or as gifted and talented. It is founded on the belief that all children can learn and reach their full potential — given opportunity, effective teaching and appropriate resources. Instruction, rather than setting, is the key to success. Decisions related to the placement of students and children are best made on an individual basis, in a way that maximizes their participation in the experience of schooling." (Alberta Education website 2008)
How are Students with Special Education Needs Identified in our District?
Students with special education needs are often initially recognized through teacher observations, informal assessments and discussion with parents. Classroom assessments, parent checklists, reading observations, portfolios, and inventories may serve as initial screening tools to determine students' educational programming needs.
Open dialogue between parents and school staff is a necessary and valued element within the identification process.
With informed parental consent, students may be formally identified as having special education needs through a variety of assessment practices. Specialized assessments for achievement, reading, language, cognitive abilities, or behaviour may be used. Written informed consent from parents is required before assessments are started.
What Supports are Available for Students within Inclusive Settings?
The school principal is responsible for ensuring that students with special education needs are identified and provided with appropriate educational programming. Each community school within the Edmonton Catholic School District supports students through effective programming practices. Many students with special education needs are supported in a variety of ways, including classroom or physical accommodations, use of assistive technologies, instructional accommodations, or testing accommodations. An Individualized Program Plan (IPP) is developed for each student who is identified as having special education needs.
Edmonton Catholic School District Inclusive Programming Consultants work with district administrators, teachers, other consultants, students and parents. Edmonton Catholic school staffs also collaborate with local agencies and organizations that support students with mild, moderate and severe special education needs.
Differentiated instruction is any instructional strategy that recognizes and supports individual differences in learning. Differentiated instruction maximizes learning by considering students individual and cultural learning styles, recognizing that some students will require adjusted expectations and offering different ways for students to explore curriculum and demonstrate learning. It is important to note that these different methods are of equal value. With differentiated instruction the teacher aims to create learning situations that match student’s current abilities and preferred learning styles while stretching their abilities and encouraging them to try new ways of learning.
Taken from K&E Studio Teacher Workstation (Alberta Education 2008)