Student Support Services
There are many different support staff that work in the Student Support and Program Services Department that provide support for students who are struggling in different ways in our schools. The following provides a description of the programming provided by UGDSB Student Support and Program Services staff.
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Our shared beliefs
- All students can succeed
- Each student has his or her own unique patterns of learning
- Successful instructional practices are founded on evidence-based research, tempered by experience
- Universal design and differentiated instruction are effective and
interconnected means of meeting the learning or productivity needs of
any group of students
- Classroom teachers are the key educators for a student’s literacy and numeracy development
- Classroom teachers need the support of the larger community to create a learning environment that supports all students
- Fairness is not sameness
(Adapted from Education for All, K–6, pp. 4–5)
Special Education Department
Who are we?
Members of the Special Education Department include the Special Education Consultants, Itinerant Teachers (Teachers of Blind and Low Vision, Teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Elementary Inclusion Technology Coaches), Applied Behaviour Analysis Facilitators and Transitional Educational Assistants. These itinerant staff travel between schools to work with students. Transitional Educational Assistants work at schools to support special transition situations, (e.g. students returning from a treatment program or transitioning from a new school or board or needing support with transitions throughout the school day). The Applied Behaviour Analysis Facilitators provide and coordinate training on ABA instructional methods and resources at the board and school level to increase capacity to use ABA methods with the school system as stated in PPM 140.
How do Special Education Consultants help staff and students?
- Make recommendations about programming, strategies and resources for students with all types of special needs who require accommodations, modifications or alternative curriculum
- Work with staff to submit claims for specialized equipment (e.g. equipment covered by Special Equipment Amount- SEA funding) and submit requests for Special Incident Portion funding (SIP)
- Provide professional development in Special Education
- Participate in Consultant Support Team meetings
- Provide leadership related to all exceptionalities as outlined in the Identification and Placement Review Committee (IPRC) process
- Support schools in various ways to help students with special needs learn and to make special education run efficiently in the school, examples include:
- teach and coach staff
- support student transition plans
- initiate SEA equipment claims
- develop program suggestions for teachers including integrating technology into student programs
- prepare materials for CST and CCC (see “Effective In-School Team (IST) Meetings Consultant Supported Team (CST) Meetings & Collaborative Case Conferences”)
- prepare materials for Central Level IPRC Meetings (see “UGDSB Central IPRC Process”)
- organize and chair Central Level Class Placement IPRC Meetings (see “UGDSB Central IPRC Process”)
- provide resources to teachers and educational assistants
- liaise with child and youth counsellor, attendance & counselling staff, speech and language pathologist, occupational and physiotherapists
- provide ongoing support with Individual Education Plans
- create transportation plans for students with special needs
Who are the students Itinerant Teachers work with?
Itinerant Teachers work with students who are deaf or hard of hearing and students who are blind or have low vision. Elementary Inclusion Technology Coaches work with teachers and their students with assistive technology who have identified learning disabilities and need technology to access the curriculum.
Communication, Language and Speech Services (CLS Services)
Who are we?
We are Speech-Language Pathologists and CLS Support Personnel (Special Program Assistants – CLS Services, and Communicative Disorders Assistants) who provide service in school-based and system teams. The Speech-Language Pathologists are highly trained in communication development and disorders at the Master’s level. They must be registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario to practice in Ontario. The CLS Support Personnel provide direct services to students under the supervision of the Speech-Language Pathologist who assesses the students’ communication skills, develops the programs and evaluates their progress.
Who are the students we work with?
Speech-Language Pathologists help school staff develop the best learning environment for students with a variety of communication needs. Since our services are school-based, we focus on communication needs that will impact the student’s ability to participate in all aspects of their education, including social interaction and learning to read and write. This includes students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 with needs in the following areas:
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Developmental Disabilities
- Language Delay/Impairment
- Language Based Learning Disabilities
- Selective Mutism
- Speech (severe articulation/phonology only)
- Fluency (stuttering) and Voice disorders (Referral services to Community Care Access Centre Speech Therapy)
Psychological and Mental Health Services
Who are we?
Members of the Psychology Department are all registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (or are currently completing this requirement and are under Supervised Practice) and are either trained at the Doctoral or Masters level. As a member of the College of Psychology, the staff are licensed to diagnose in the areas of Developmental Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Child and Adolescent Depression, Tourette’s Syndrome, Autism, and other Mental Health Disorders.
Who do the Psychological Consultants work with?
The Psychological Consultants work closely with the school team, parents, and community partners (i.e., Local Children’s Mental Health Services, Physicians) to help students who are struggling with learning, behavioural, social, or mental health concerns at school. The Psychological Consultant provides Consultation, Brief Intervention (1 to 3 sessions) and ‘Psychological/Psycho-educational Assessments’. A Psychological Assessment involves a comprehensive standardized battery of tests exploring intellectual (cognitive) abilities, memory functioning, specific processing skills, academic skills, mental health issues, social-emotional issues, and behavioural functioning.
Counselling and Attendance
Who are we?
All members of the Counselling and Attendance Department are Social Workers trained at the Masters level and registered with the Ontario College of Social Worker and Social Service Workers. Each Social Worker is based out of one or two high schools. They also provide attendance support and consultation to the family of elementary schools that feed into their high school.
Who are the students the Counselling and Attendance staff work with?
The Social Workers in the Counselling and Attendance Department work closely with the school team, parents, and community partners (e.g., Local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) when students are struggling with social, behaviour, or mental health concerns at school. The Social Worker provides consultation to teachers and administrators and counselling to students in order to help them succeed in high school. Students may present with the following problems:
- School attendance issues
- Mental Health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and trauma
- Behavioural problems
- Substance use/abuse
- Social difficulties
Child and Youth Counsellors
Who are we?
All members of the Child and Youth Counselling Department are Child and Youth Workers (CYC) trained in either a 2 or 3 year Community College Program. The allocation of the CYC’s varies. Some CYCs are allocated to schools in the elementary panel. Based upon the size of the school and school needs, a CYC might be assigned to one school, or up to four schools. Some CYCs are assigned to High Schools. Typically, a CYC works at one, maximum two high schools.
Who are the students the Child and Youth Counsellors work with?
The CYCs work closely with the school team (including the Psychology and Social Worker assigned to their school) and parents when students are struggling with social, emotional, and behavioural concerns at school. The CYC will work with the school team to provide consultation and observational data to help the school develop an effective Behaviour/Mental Health Plan. The CYC is also responsible for providing board-wide programs addressing issues, such as bullying, emotional regulation, and fostering safe relationships, including abuse prevention programs.
Mental Health Lead
The position of the Mental Health Lead at the Upper Grand District School Board began in September of 2012 as part of Open Minds, Healthy Minds – Ontario`s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. The Mental Health Lead works with senior administration, board staff, parents and students to develop and implement the board mental health and addictions strategy. This position provides leadership for the board mental health team and works collaboratively with Safe, Equitable, Inclusive School, Healthy Schools Committee and Student Success to promote wellness for all students. Some key responsibilities of the Mental Health and Addiction Lead include:
- Promote mental well-being and mental health literacy initiatives in the board
- Select and support evidence-based approaches to mental health promotion and prevention
- Provide mental health promotion and prevention training
- Provide leadership in mental well- being and mental health/addiction related initiatives and supports within the board and community
- Collaborate with board and community partners to promote clear and integrated access to services
The Mental Health Lead represents the Board on a variety of community based planning tables and committees, such as:
- Ensuring School Success (ESS)
- Dufferin Coalition for Kids (DuCK)
- Mental Health Substance Use and Addiction Prevention (MHSMAP)
- Growing Great Generations (GGG)
- Suicide Awareness Council (SAC)
- Guelph/Wellington Drug Strategy
- Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Domestic Assault
- Youth Addictions Working Group
- Violence Threat Risk Assessment Regional Committee
- Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin Situation/Connection Table
- Wellington and Dufferin Human Trafficking Committees
- Balanced Technology Management Committee