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Special Education

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At HWDSB, we want to ensure that all of our students are learning. In consultation with families, our team of caring and dedicated professionals provides a continuum of special education supports and services for exceptional learners.

Where possible, we feel that all learning needs should be addressed in a student’s home school. Our opportunities include regular class placement and support, as well as special class placement and support.

We believe that a student’s education is a responsibility shared by families, staff and students themselves. Regular, ongoing communication helps this team approach succeed.

For more information about special education programs, services and supports, please contact your school or call 905-527-5092 x 2625.

Our Special Education Plan

HWDSB’s Special Education Plan details how the resources allocated for special education are used to meet the needs of all exceptional students of the board.

The Special Education Plan at HWDSB has been developed in accordance with Regulation 306 of the Education Act and the Ministry of Education policy document: Standards for School Boards’ Special Education Plans (2002).  As per Regulation 464/07, the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) of the board was involved in the development of this plan.

An Identification, Placement, and Review Committees (IPRC) is a formal committee that meets and decides if a student should be identified as an exceptional pupil and, if so, the placement that will best meet the student’s needs. An IPRC is comprised of at least three school board personnel, one of whom must be a principal or supervisory officer of the board.

An IPRC will:

  • invite you and your child/youth (if the student is 16 years of age or older) to attend the IPRC meeting;
  • review relevant information about the student;
  • describe the student’s strengths and needs;
  • determine whether the student should be identified as exceptional;
  • identify the area(s) of the student’s exceptionality or exceptionalities, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionality provided by the Ministry of Education;
  • determine an appropriate placement for the student;
  • provide reasons for the placement if deciding for a placement in a special education class;
  • discuss proposals for special education programs and services if requested by you, or the student age 16 or over; and
  • review the identification and placement at least once in each school year, unless you give written notice dispensing with the review.

The Education Act defines an exceptional pupil as a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical and/or multiple exceptionalities are such that the student is considered to require a placement in a special education program. Students are identified according to these categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.

IPRC Guide

More information regarding this process is available in this Guide for Parents and Guardians to IPRC

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan describing the appropriate special education program and/or special education services to be received by a student with special education needs.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs)The IEP is a working document. This individualized plan describes the goals that the school team has set for the child for the school year, as well as any special supports that are needed to help achieve those goals.

The IEP identifies the particular accommodations and/or modifications and/or alternative expectationsthat are needed to help the student achieve his or her learning expectations, given the student’s identified learning strengths and needs.

The IEP includes a transition plan for students who are fourteen years of age and older, unless the students are identified solely as gifted. The transition plan is designed to help students with special education needs make successful transitions from school to further education, work, and/or community living.

The IEP is not a description of everything that will be taught to the student, or all of the teaching strategies used in regular classroom instruction. It is a record of the specific knowledge and skills that will be assessed and evaluated for the purpose of reporting student achievement of the expectations listed in the IEP.

The development of an IEP is required for each student who has been identified as an exceptional pupil by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). An IEP may also be prepared for a student who is receiving a special education program and/or services but who has not been identified as exceptional through the IPRC process.

Parents are consulted in the development of a student’s IEP. Ongoing communication with your child’s school and school team is encouraged, as the most effective IEPs are those that are developed in partnership with parents.

HWDSB provides programs and services to support the learning outcomes for all students. We believe that all children can reach their full potential given sufficient time, support and instruction that meets their specific learning needs and strengths.

Here are some helpful details about special education services at HWDSB:

  • Special Education Services - Students Learning on a computer.We provide services and supports in a child’s home school as often as possible – an approach that requires creative, flexible, equitable and wise use of allocated school resources. It also requires strong partnerships between the home, school and community agencies.
  • Our special education consultants support schools and students, leading professional development and special education processes mandated by the Ministry of Education. Special assignment teachers address the areas of differentiated instruction, assistive technology, behavioural strategies and learning disabilities.
  • We provide special class placement options for exceptionalities that include: developmentally delayed, autism, deaf and hard of hearing (elementary only), gifted (grades 5 to 8 only), speech (Grade 1 only) and a comprehensive class model that addresses intellectual delays or communication disabilities. Children who are blind or have low vision are served in their home schools by itinerant teachers, as are students who are deaf or hard of hearing, should they choose to remain in their home schools and not go to special class.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach – supporting students, classroom teachers and educational support staff – and our collaboration with Student Services, Curriculum and Instructional Technology are keys to the success of our special education programs.

For more information about special education programs, services and supports, please contact your school or call 905-527-5092 x 2625.

HWDSB’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) is committed to working in partnership with the staff and resources of the Board to assure quality educational services for all students. SEAC advocates for students with special needs by:

  • Assisting students to receive the best programs that meet their social, physical, emotional and educational needs.
  • Advising the Board about best practices
  • Working to ensure that all students are welcomed and included within their schools.

The Ministry of Education requires that each school board in Ontario appoint a SEAC. This committee is made up of parents, trustees, and representatives recommended by local associations and community organizations. Staff who represent various employee groups and/or provide information to the committee also participate.

The purpose of SEAC is to review issues related to the education of students with special needs and make recommendations on these issues to the trustees and the administration. The members bring their associations’ perspectives to the discussions while working together to ensure the best education for all exceptional children within the Board.

SEAC members also sit on various other committees of the Board, both to represent SEAC on the committee and to keep SEAC members up-to-date on the issues.

SEAC meets once per month (usually on the last Wednesday of each month) throughout the school year. The meetings start at 6 p.m. at the Education Centre (20 Education Court, Hamilton).

Individual members of SEAC can be contacted with specific questions or concerns. Please view the current SEAC membership list for 2019-23.

SEAC Meetings

Please see a list of our upcoming SEAC meeting dates and times.

Updated on Friday, June 28, 2019.
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