OCDSB UPDATE: Motion Regarding Support for Students and Teachers’ Professional Development

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A motion regarding tiered interventions in supporting students, and teachers’ professional development in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) passed at the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting on Dec. 13, 2017. The motion was introduced by the Association for Bright Children of Ontario (Dragos Popa) and the Learning Disabilities Association of Ottawa-Carleton (Michael Bates). SEAC members voted and overwhelmingly supported the initiative. The motion (below) is expected to be sent to OCDSB Trustees for discussion in January 2018.

If supported by Trustees and Board staff, it has the potential to make a definite, positive difference not just in the lives of OCDSB students with special needs, but for all students in the Board. If teachers and support staff are able to recognize the individual needs of each child, and know how to help them reach their full potential, this will be a positive change across schools and programs in the District!

MOTION: Whereas the OCDSB uses a tiered approach in supporting students with special education needs. This approach includes assessment followed by more intense instructional support for students requiring special education programs and services. These programs and services include: Regular class with specialized support; Regular class with Learning Support Teacher (LST) or Learning Resource Teacher (LRT) monitoring; Regular class with LST or LRT support; Specialized program; and Self-contained special education classes.

Whereas OCDSB teaching and support staff are expected to meet the varied needs of students across the full spectrum of special education programs using the tiered approach. To implement this approach effectively, staff are expected to demonstrate a high degree of knowledge and skills, requiring ongoing professional development (PD) in this area.

Therefore, be it resolved:

THAT SEAC ask the Board of Trustees to direct staff to cost and include in the budget the funding to deliver on the following:

A. Ensure a culture of equity for OCDSB students by making professional development on the topic of tiered interventions, differentiated instruction and placement in special education programs a top priority in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020;

B. Explicitly define the three tiers of intervention including specific timeframes of review of progress and the classroom accommodations associated with each tier;

C. Dedicate additional paid PD time over and above existing PD time for developing teacher knowledge and skills regarding tiered interventions, differentiated instruction, and specialized program placement. The PD should also identify and develop understanding of specific types of instructional tools and metrics that might be used at each tier to expand the teacher’s toolbox;

D. Support an in-depth understanding in all classroom teachers of how to assist students who require additional supports; and

E. Conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness and outcomes from tiered interventions in OCDSB classrooms. In particular, interventions should be evaluated in terms of their impact on students’ academic achievement, social integration, and overall well-being.

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