The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) offers to its students and their parents an inclusive and integrated programming and service structure. This is based on the WCDSB’s philosophy and mission as a Catholic learning community. With some rare exceptions, this means that every student will attend her or his neighbourhood school, and will be assigned to a regular class and classroom teacher. A student with special needs may be supported with a plan as outlined in their IEP. Supports may also include additional staff (usually within the regular classroom), specialized equipment, partial individual or small group withdrawal to a learning resource centre for his/her needs and learning goals, as outlined in her/his Individual Education Plan or IEP.
Changes in placement within this Program Service Model are determined through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) processes and always involve significant communication with parents. Please see those sections of the Special Education Website for more information on these processes. Consistent with Waterloo Catholic School Board’s Special Education Model and philosophy, placement in a regular class is the first option considered for all our students.
Assigning intensive supports for students is based on system-wide information gathered by Student Services Administrators, Special Education Resource Teachers, and school Principals. Students requiring intensive supports entering the school system as well as leaving must be included in this information gathering process. Decisions are then made based on individual needs of students, staff availability, budget factors, access to service, and equity. This process is typically completed during the first month of school when student transfers/enrolment figures, etc. have stabilized. Intensive support staffing levels are then finalized for the year. This approach appears to minimize staffing changes during the school year and allows for increased continuity of programming.
Alternative placements are communicated to parents through various means including parent/school conferences, case conferences, IPRC Annual Reviews, Transition meetings to/between schools, and counselling/clinical interviews with professional staff.
The focus is on the individual student and his/her optimum development within the Catholic learning environment of age-appropriate peers. In the delivery of individualized programs, Classroom Teachers are supported by Special Education Teacher(s), Educational Assistant(s) and members of the Collaborative Team assigned to their school.
The Board’s delivery system for the provision of Special Education programs and services is organized by groups of schools. A Collaborative Team is assigned to a group of schools. This team consists of:
- Psychoeducational Consultant
- Social Worker
- Speech and Language Pathologist
- Child and Youth Care Worker(s)
- Special Education Resource Teacher
The Collaborative Team supports the school level team which is comprised of the Principal, Classroom teacher(s), Special Education Teacher and Educational Assistant. In addition, each school has available upon request the services of the following support staff which may include:
- Consulting Audiologist
- Itinerant Teachers of Vision and Hearing
- Itinerant Teacher of the Gifted
- Autism Support Officer